Sprint (NYSE:S) is adding another phone to its lineup that can access is Wi-Fi calling feature, the tri-mode LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy S4. Sprint now supports four phones for Wi-Fi calling.
Sprint's Samsung Galaxy S4
Sprint re-released the Galaxy S4 last year with tri-band LTE support for its Sprint Spark service, which runs on Sprint's 800 MHz, 1900 MHz and 2.5 GHz spectrum. The carrier is rolling out an over-the-air update for the device and said all of its tri-band Galaxy S4 customers will automatically receive the update during the next few weeks.
Sprint now supports Wi-Fi calling on the Samsung Galaxy Mega, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and tri-band Galaxy S4 and Galaxy S4 mini, according to Sprint spokesman Mark Elliott. Last month Sprint said it would discontinue sales of the Galaxy S4 mini.
"While Sprint postpaid is no longer selling Galaxy S4 mini, we continue to support our customers using the smartphone," Elliott said.
Sprint plans to introduce support for Wi-Fi calling in more devices throughout the year. The launch of Wi-Fi calling from Sprint pits it against T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), which has offered first-party Wi-Fi calling for free since May 2011. Sprint plans to launch its first devices with Wi-Fi calling enabled out-of-box later this year.
Currently, Wi-Fi calling only works on Android phones since it needs to be deeply embedded into the handset, which is currently only possible on Android devices, according to Sprint. The underlying technology is an embedded Kineto client and technology from Taqua.
Sprint has repeatedly touted the benefits of Wi-Fi calling, including enhanced coverage, easy setup and unlimited voice calling and messaging over Wi-Fi, since all domestic calling and messaging is free (standard CDMA international rates will apply for international calls). Sprint said its customers "will experience improved voice, data and messaging services in locations that previously had limited or no mobile network coverage." The service is available via a Wi-Fi calling icon on a user's phone.
The offering from Sprint is notable in light of the fact that Sprint supports multiple MVNOs that have a Wi-Fi-first business model, including Republic Wireless and Scratch Wireless.
- see this Sprint post
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