Verizon (NYSE: VZ) currently does not support Apple's (NASDAQ: AAPL) Wi-Fi calling technology that allows users to make and receive Wi-Fi calls on other iCloud-connected devices like iPads and the Apple Watch. And Sprint's (NYSE: S) Boost and Virgin prepaid brands still don't support any of the Wi-Fi calling technology Apple introduced two years ago through its iOS 8 operating system.
"We can confirm that it's not something we support at this time," said Verizon spokesperson Trevor Thomas in response to questions from FierceWireless about the carrier's support for Apple's "Wi-Fi Calling on iCloud-connected devices." "We are always looking at ways to improve the customer experience and appreciate the outreach."
According to Apple's website, Verizon is the only major nationwide wireless carrier that does not support the technology. On its site, Apple explains that "If your carrier supports Wi-Fi Calling on iCloud-connected devices, you can also make and receive Wi-Fi calls on other devices. You can use Wi-Fi Calling on these devices, even if your iPhone isn't on the same Wi-Fi Network or turned on." Devices that users can send their calls to include the iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch and Mac.
Verizon was the last major wireless operator in the United States to introduce support for Apple's Wi-Fi calling technology, launching the service in February on Apple's iOS 9.3 operating system. AT&T (NYSE: T) launched the technology a few months prior to Verizon's launch, and Sprint launched it last year. T-Mobile has long offered Wi-Fi calling on the iPhone.
However, despite Sprint's embrace of Wi-Fi calling on its Sprint-branded service, the carrier has not extended that service to either of its prepaid brands Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile. "Boost and Virgin don't support WiFi calling on iOS," confirmed Sprint spokesperson Kathleen Dunleavy in response to questions from FierceWireless on the topic.
Neither Boost nor Virgin are listed on Apple's website as supporting the iPhone vendor's Wi-Fi calling technology.
Also according to Apple's website, T-Mobile's (NYSE:TMUS) MetroPCS prepaid brand joins Verizon in its lack of support for Apple's "Wi-Fi Calling on supported iCloud-connected devices." And C Spire Wireless, nTelos and U.S. Cellular -- three of the nation's largest regional wireless carriers -- also do not support Apple's Wi-Fi calling technology at all.
Although Wi-Fi calling technology has been available in the wireless market for close to a decade -- T-Mobile launched its HotSpot @Home service with vendor Kineto Wireless almost 10 years ago -- companies continue to work to improve the service. For example, MVNO Republic Wireless recently introduced Bonded Calling, a type of technology "patch" that the company said intelligently senses sub-optimal conditions on a Wi-Fi network and responds by patching the gaps in a Wi-Fi call with redundancy on a cell data network.
Republic Wireless develops bonded calling technology to improve Wi-Fi call quality
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