NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel has begun ramping up the integration of its services after the launch of its integrated high-speed internet-TV-telephony service -- XStream -- in September this year. On Tuesday, Airtel rolled out an industry-first voice-over-WiFi service which will allow its subscribers to utilise home WiFi connections to make calls.
Currently available in the Delhi-NCR region in the first phase, the service will “gradually be rolled out across India”, the company said. Customers will not be charged any additional fees for utilising the service which Airtel says will significantly improve indoor voice quality for its customers.
According to sources, Airtel has beaten rivals Reliance Jio and BSNL to the market with the technology, which has been in the testing phase for quite a while. The technology is seen as a useful tool in plugging coverage gaps in mobile telephony services, especially in highly populated regions where it is difficult to increase the density of mobile tower infrastructure.
“Seamless indoor coverage has been a key ask from mobile customers but getting permissions for site installations has always been a big challenge for mobile operators, particularly in top metros. ‘Airtel Wi-Fi Calling’... will go a long way in making the voice calling experience more seamless,” said Randeep Sekhon, Chief Technology
Officer, Bharti Airtel.
To enable WiFi calling, smartphone users will need to first check if their device supports the function. Currently, WiFi calling is supported by all new iPhones starting from the 6s; Xiaomi’s Redmi K20, Redmi K20 Pro and POCO F1; Samsung’s J6, A10s, On6 and M30s; and all models in OnePlus’ 7 series.
In devices that support the function, users will need to switch on the function in Settings and keep Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) enabled. “Airtel is working with all leading smartphone brands to roll out compatibility with ‘Airtel Wi-Fi Calling’. The service is currently compatible with Airtel Xstream Fiber home broadband and will soon be compatible with all broadband services and Wi-Fi hotspots,” the company said.