Verizon Wireless Asks FCC For Permission To Start Offering WiFi Calling

Not one to be left behind while the other major carriers are hanging out on the technology bandwagon, Verizon Wireless has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to enable WiFi calling on its network.

In applying to the FCC for the waiver, Verizon likely didn’t want anyone calling them out for skipping a step: AT&T recently got the go-ahead it needed to offer WiFi calling to customers, by applying for a waiver from the FCC.

See, in order to offer WiFi calling, carriers are required to offer an alternative to Touch Telephone (TTY) systems for deaf customers, called Real-Time Text, or RTT. That technology is similar, but it’s more reliable than TTY is on WiFi networks… and won’t be available until 2016, thus the need for a waiver from the FCC.

Of the big four carriers, only AT&T and Verizon Wireless have bothered to apply for the waiver: despite the fact that Sprint and T-Mobile both already provide WiFi calling as an option, they’re apparently doing so in violation of the FCC’s rules — a fact AT&T was quick to note to anyone who would listen.

“We are left scratching our heads as to why the FCC still seems intent on excusing the behavior of T-Mobile and Sprint, who have been offering these services without a waiver for quite some time,” AT&T senior executive vice president Jim Cicconi wrote when announcing AT&T’s successful application.

Once the waiver is approved by the FCC, it’s likely that Verizon will roll out WiFi calling in the near future. Slashgear notes that Verizon does offer WiFi calling through its app on iOS, but FCC permission will allow it to support the native feature in both iOS9 and Android.

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