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Verizon (VZ) Gets FCC Approval for Improved Wi-Fi Calling

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Verizon Communications Inc.VZ recently received a temporary go-ahead from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for the rollout of its Wi-Fi Calling feature. The approval had so far been pending as the FCC required the feature to support teletypewriter service (TTY) which assists speech-and-hearing impaired users to type and send messages at once over the phone network. However, owing to reliability issues of the TTY service over Voice-over-WiFi (VoWiFi) networks, carriers had been reluctant to use the same.

As an alternative, carriers have incorporated a superior technology - Real Time Text (RTT) - for the speech-and-hearing impaired, within in its Wi-Fi calling feature. However, the service is currently awaiting FCC approval for it to replace the TTY service. Meanwhile, even as Verizon was focusing on improving its 4G network for the Voice over LTE technology, it had been mum about its plans concerning Wi-Fi calling. On the other hand, rivals like T-Mobile US Inc. TMUS and Sprint Corp. S have already introduced the Wi-Fi feature post the launch of iOS 9, while AT&T Inc. T has already got the nod from the FCC for its Wi-Fi calling feature.

Apple released its Wi-Fi calling service 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 features are useful in areas with strong Wi-Fi but low signal strength. Although such features were widely available on user interfaces like Windows and Android, the feature came to the forefront only when Apple began endorsing it.

Meanwhile, Verizon has been actively vying to consolidate its number one spot in the U.S. telecom market. Apart from working on an alternative solution for seamless usage of the Wi-Fi calling feature, the company is looking to boost its presence in the mobile video streaming services to create an ad based revenue stream through its mobile streaming service called 'Go90'. Such varied initiatives should be able to propel growth at the company, going forward.

Verizon presently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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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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