T-Mobile Will Offer Wi-Fi Calling on Android Smartphones

T-Mobile is working to push its Wi-Fi calling technology deeper into the marketplace. It will soon offer built-in Wi-Fi calling capabilities in many of its Android-powered smartphones.

T-Mobile will begin the Wi-Fi calling rollout with smartphones like the T-Mobile myTouch and the Motorola DEFY with MOTOBLUR. T-Mobile is no stranger to Wi-Fi. The company reports it already hosts about 40 million Wi-Fi calls each month.

This is all part of Unlicensed Mobile Access, or UMA, technology. T-Mobile has remained committed to UMA, and it has offered the company a competitive advantage against larger carriers. The Wi-Fi calling for Android is powered by Kineto’s Smart Wi-Fi application. The Wi-Fi capabilities make way for both voice calling and text messaging from 802.11 b/g/n access points around the world.

UMA Pros and Cons

“Wi-Fi calling hasn’t been much of a competitive advantage for T-Mobile in the past,” said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst at Gartner. “Most people don’t even know T-Mobile is still using UMA technology. T-Mobile hasn’t really promoted it in quite some time. But it’s a nice addition to its Android devices, and it’s a nice feature if you are a T-Mobile customer.”

Torrie Dorrell, vice president of T-Mobile’s connected family products and services division, said adding Wi-Fi calling to Android smartphones is part of the company’s effort to enhance indoor coverage. The Wi-Fi capability means calls will flow between Wi-Fi and cellular networks, making up for spotty cell networks during the transition from outdoors to indoors.

T-Mobile has been offering the service since June 2007, but is making it available for Android phones for the first time. T-Mobile already offers Wi-Fi calling on devices such as the Nokia E73 Mode, BlackBerry Curve 8520, BlackBerry Bold 9700, and the new BlackBerry Curve 3G.

No Competitive Advantage

“The Wi-Fi calling is lacking some things. For example, if…

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