T-Mo USA backs wifi to plug coverage gaps

T-Mobile USA is embracing wifi as a network offload technology by making all smartphones it sells capable of HD voice over wifi (VoWifi) calling. In order to plug coverage gaps in homes and businesses the company is also making a wifi hotspot loaded with proprietary technology available to its subscribers.

In the latest of its “un-carrier” marketing moves, outspoken CEO John Legere said 100 per cent of the smartphones the company sells will have embedded functionality that allows users to make free HD voice calls and send text messages over wifi. For those without compatible phones the operator is extending its Jump upgrade plan to encourage customers to migrate to a compatible device.

The feature is built into the device and does not appear to be available as an aftermarket app download but allows T-Mobile customers to use any public or private wifi connection they can access like a T-Mobile tower for calling and texting, plugging voice coverage gaps between T-Mobile’s nationwide Voice over LTE network and wifi with compatible smartphones.

With Wi-Fi Un-leashed, all T-Mobile customers can also make free wifi calls to the United States from outside the country using their existing T-Mobile number wherever they have wifi.

“Wi-Fi Un-leashed is a game changer. This is like adding millions of towers to our network in a single day,” said John Legere. “The difference between us and the traditional carriers is that they’ll do everything they can to make more money off you. We’ll do everything we can to solve your problems, and today, that’s about uniting Wi-Fi with our data strong network for unprecedented coverage.”

The operator also unveiled the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot, a wifi router that “enables everyone to put the capabilities of a personal T-Mobile tower in their house.”

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With 57 per cent of American wireless users saying they often drop calls in and around their home, the Personal CellSpot can completely replace an existing router or operate alongside it with proprietary technology that shift and prioritises cellular voice calls for HD voice over wifi instead.

From September 17, every Simple Choice customer with a broadband connection and a wifi calling ready smartphone can get a T-Mobile Personal CellSpot free of charge with a $25 refundable deposit.

Through an exclusive, new partnership with Gogo, an in-flight connectivity service, T-Mobile has taken the same experience to any Gogo-equipped flight on US-based airlines, which the company claims is more than 75 per cent of domestic flights.

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