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AT&T Launches Wi-Fi Calling Support Following FCC Nod

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AT&T Inc.T recently launched its Wi-Fi Calling feature after it received the green signal from the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) in this regard. The launch had been delayed as the FCC required the feature to support teletypewriter service (TTY) which assists the hearing-impaired. However, for now, the feature will be solely available to customers using iPhones with iOS9. Support for other phones is expected to be available later.

Cause of the Delay

AT&T had intended to use a superior technology - Real Time Text (RTT) - for the hearing impaired in its Wi-Fi calling feature. However, the company was awaiting FCC approval for a proper replacement of its TTY service.

Meanwhile, rivals like T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS and Sprint Corp. S have already introduced the Wi-Fi feature post the launch of iOS 9. AT&T, on its part, claims that these carriers have launched the service without a proper clearance. On the other hand, Verizon Communications Inc. VZ , the largest carrier in the U.S., is presently focusing on improving its 4G network for the Voice over LTE technology and is mum about its plans concerning Wi-Fi calling.

Wi-Fi Calling Gains Precedence

Apple released Wi-Fi calling on iOS8 devices last year. The feature allows iPhone users to make and receive calls on Wi-Fi networks as they would on standard cellular networks. Such a feature is useful in areas with strong Wi-Fi but low cellular signal strength. Although such features are common on platforms like Windows and Android, the feature came to the forefront only when Apple endorsed it.

The Bottom Line

AT&T has been actively vying for the number one spot in the U.S. telecom market. Apart from working on an alternative voice solution based on RTT rather than TTY, the company is also looking to beef up security in its data providing services through partnerships with the likes of IBM Corp. The company hopes to propel growth with such varied strategies, going forward.

AT&T Inc. currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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AT&T INC (T): Free Stock Analysis Report

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T-MOBILE US INC (TMUS): Free Stock Analysis Report

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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