Optus adds Wi-Fi calling to cover poor reception areas

Alex Kidman 26 January 2017


No app required, although you will need a Samsung phone for now.

Nobody is ever really happy with their mobile calling reception, because you only really tend to notice it in the context of calls that drop out or have bad reception.

Optus already offers an app-based service, Wi-Fi Talk that you can download to phones to enable calling and texting over a Wi-Fi network rather than a mobile one, but it has today announced that it has enabled Wi-Fi calling for customers on its network without the need for an app to do so.

The one catch here is that the phone in question has to support Optus’ particular VoLTE (Voice over LTE) service, and at launch that list comprises precisely two phones. Samsung phones to be precise, with last year’s Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge as provided by Optus. Optus' estimates is that a 5 minute call would chew through around 3.8MB of data.

It’s not clear at launch whether imported models or phones originally configured for other networks would qualify, or if you'd need to download an Optus-specific firmware to utilise Wi-Fi calling. You’ve also got to be a postpaid Optus customer, with Wi-Fi calling not extended at launch to Optus Prepaid customers.

Optus states that "more Wi-Fi Calling compatible phones will be available soon", but also that some Wi-Fi networks may not offer the necessary support for Wi-Fi calls to get through. Optus will still continue to offer its Wi-Fi Talk app for Android and iOS handsets, so if you don't have a phone that will support it natively, it would still be an option for you.

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