WiFi Calling and SMS

WIFI calling, or Voice over WiFi (VoWIFI), allows you to make and receive voice calls, SMS (text) messages, and MMS (video) messages with a compatible mobile phone over the wi-fi of an internet connection.

This page provides an overview of this incredibly useful service, and some advice on how to access and activate it.

Can I get it?

You don’t need mobile coverage to place the call, but you do need an active internet connection.

You also need the right sort of mobile phone handset to use it, and for your internet service provider to support the capability. As at time of writing, Wi-fi calling was supported across all three major network suppliers in Australia.

Telstra
Optus
Vodafone

In a practical sense, what this means is you can receive SMS messages and calls on your mobile phone when you are connected to Wi-Fi, even if you live in an area without mobile coverage.

Importantly, it means you can receive the verification codes sent out by services such as the Australian Government’s MyGov, or many banking applications, without having to leave your premises.

How does it work?

It’s a system built into the mobile phones network itself, called VoLTE or Voice over LTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution). It relates to how phone calls are carried over 3G and 4G networks, and essentially allows mobile voice calls to be carried using the data part of the mobile network.

This technology enables voice calls over 4G networks. Until recently voice calls were carried over the 3G network and prior to that over the 2G network. VoLTE delivers some great improvements to voice calling. You can experience faster call connection times compared to 3G and you may talk and browse at the same time. VoLTE voice calls are high definition (HD) for sharp, clear call quality. See the carrier links below for details on enabling the VoLTE feature.

In other words, making mobile phone calls using internet connectivity.

Can I use Wi-Fi Calling?

Almost any home or business Wi-Fi network will support Wi-Fi calling when combined with a suitable mobile phone.

Your internet service, and local Wi-Fi connection, must be strong and stable enough to support the calls.

  • Your phone, and your service provider must support VoLTE or Voice over LTE. Not all phones support VoLTE, and not all providers support all the phones that do have VoLTE.
  • With the exception of approved Apple smart phones, your approved mobile phone may need to be supplied by your mobile phone provider. You can’t always “Bring Your Own Device” plans for Wi-Fi Calling. Check with your provider first.
  • You may need to contact your mobile phone provider to have Wi-Fi Calling/VoLTE activated on your plan.
    • Telstra and Vodafone activate it automatically on supported handsets.
    • Optus requires contact to activate it.
  • You must ensure that the latest software is loaded on your mobile phone.

The list of supported handsets is always changing. However, broadly speaking, the following handsets will be supported:

  • Apple iPhone 6 onwards, Apple Watch 3 onwards
  • Samsung Galaxy devices, S7 onwards, Note 5 onwards
  • Google Pixel 2 devices onwards
  • LG devices G6 onwards
  • Other Android devices such as HTC, Oppo, or Huawei.

Check with your service provider for their full list of supported handsets:

Wi-Fi calling – costs and data usage

There are no charges for using VoIP.

Calls and messages will be charged as per the rates of your existing mobile plan, while the internet data you use will count against the internet service you’re using for the service. (For those using nbn Sky Muster Plus, wi-fi calling is unmetered and doesn’t count towards your monthly metered data).

For Telstra customers, Wi-Fi calling traffic (data) is not charged to your Telstra internet account.

Wi-Fi calling voice calls use approximately 3.8MB of internet data for a 5-minute call.

Setting up Wi-Fi Calling

You need to enable “VoLTE” on your phone. This is done in different places depending on the handset and software version you have.

If in doubt, contact your mobile phone provider.

For iPhone:

  1. Go to Settings (the grey gear-like box)
  2. Select Mobile
  3. Turn on Wi-Fi calling

For Android devices:

  1. Go to your phone’s calling app (it will probably have a green phone handset illustration on it)
  2. Select More or the three dots in the top right corner
  3. Select Settings
  4. Turn on Wi-Fi Calling

Each provider has more detailed information on enabling the service on their phones, at the links below. You may have to update carrier settings for wi-fi calling features to become visible.

Note that even if you have no mobile reception at your premises and tend to place your phone in Airplane Mode (which prevents the phone constantly looking for a non-existent mobile network), you may need to turn airplane mode OFF in order to get access to the VoLTE settings.

Tips to maximise your voice experience

  • Be close to your router when making a call.
  • Turn airplane mode on and reconnect to your router. This prevents the phone searching for another network to use whilst you are on a call.

Telstra

Go to the web page “FAQs on Telstra Wi-Fi calling and SMS” and scroll down the page to find your specific device.

iOS is Apple; Android is everything else.

Optus

Go to the web page on “Turning on VoLTE and WiFi calling on your device”, and scroll down the page to find your particular phone.

Follow the instructions to turn the service on or off.

Vodafone

Select your handset from the list on their website and select “Calls and contacts” to find the “Turn wifi calling on or off” section.