Mentioned by Verizon Communications CFO Fran Shammo at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, the wireless carrier plans on supporting Wi-Fi calling within the next 12 months.
First reported by Fierce Wireless, the CFO indicated that Verizon will need to perform “technological work on our network” to provide that feature to customers in the future. Both the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus support Wi-Fi calling, a feature that allows users to place and receive voice calls as well as send and receive messages using a wireless Internet connection.
When asked why Verizon hadn’t invested in the technology sooner, Shammo said “We built our voice platform so extensively, there was never a need for us to tell our customers, ‘Oh, our network is not good enough so you need to go on Wi-Fi to complete your call.'”
Shammo also indicated that Verizon has been hesitant to roll out Wi-Fi calling because call quality is simply out of their control. The quality of a voice call is completely dependent on the wireless connection. For instance, a shared Wi-Fi connection in an airport could produce awful call quality.
The comments were made after T-Mobile announced that it would be the first wireless carrier in the United States to support Wi-Fi calling on the two new Apple smartphones, a feature that the company has provided support on many Android and Windows devices. AT&T has announced support for the new feature, but will be rolling it out slowly with a similar 2015 launch date as Verizon has announced. Sprint already has a Wi-Fi calling feature enabled on Android devices, but hasn’t made an announcement in regards to support for the feature on Apple’s new smartphones.