Starting with their new G2 and myTouch 4G handsets, T-Mobile is bringing Wi-Fi calling to Android phones. Wi-Fi calling allows you to access the T-Mobile network using Wi-Fi instead of a cellular connection. Once connected to Wi-Fi, you can make and receive calls without any noticeable difference.
Now, using the Internet to make phone calls is by no means anything special – Skype has been doing this for years – what makes this new feature so handy is that you don’t need to configure anything, you don’t need an account and calls are made using your own phone number.
Once you turn the app on, it instantly searches for Wi-Fi, and you can make and receive calls. The technology is called UMA, and it was first introduced on T-Mobile Blackberry devices back in 2007. It took some time for the service to reach Android devices, but the wait was well worth it.
The advantages of Wi-Fi calling are especially convenient for travelers – instead of spending upwards of $2/minute for a call, you simply find a Wi-Fi hotspot, and you’ll be able to call back home using nothing more than the minutes from your regular calling plan.
I’ve tested the new app extensively on the G2 and the myTouch 4G, and it works absolutely flawlessly. One feature missing from the Android flavor of UMA is the ability to do a “seamless handoff” between cellular and Wi-Fi. This means your phone call will drop as soon as you are out of range of the Wi-Fi hotspot.
Despite this minor issue, if you are regularly abroad and in need of a cheap and reliable way to make phone calls, the new handsets with the T-Mobile Wi-Fi calling app are definitely worth checking out. For more on the new Wi-Fi calling app, mozy on over to the T-Mobile support pages.