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T-Mobile brings free video calls to mobile

Following the launch of Advanced Messaging, T-Mobile is bringing video calls to mobile. Video calls will work for the dialer, allowing the user to choose between voice and video call. No app is needed, but anyone outside of the T-Mobile network will be unable to answer the video call.

T-Mobile will gradually push updates to smartphones. T-Mobile plans to work with other carriers to add them into the video calls, even if they aren’t subscribers. This is a bit of a knockback, considering Facebook Messenger, Skype, and FaceTime all offer that functionality regardless of carrier.

As with voice calls, T-Mobile will move between LTE and WiFi during the video call for the best service. It will also move from video call to voice if the connection is too slow, and allow the user to move back to video call once connection has been re-established. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5 will be the first to receive T-Mobile video calls, followed by the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge next week. Android is the platform of choice for T-Mobile, probably because of iOS carrier restrictions.

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T-Mobile plans to add another three phones by the end of the year. Not a major rollout, but enough to capture all of the latest smartphones running Android. The progression away from traditional calls and texts comes as more users move to WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat to communicate with friends. T-Mobile wants to remain in the conversation, even if it means cutting its own text and call services in favor of data options.

The worry is that none of the other major carriers join in with the push to Internet-friendly services like Advanced Messaging, voice chat, and video chat over WiFi or LTE. AT&T and Verizon Wireless, the two dominant wireless providers, have shown no interest in implementing the new services.