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Airtel and Jio now give Vo-WiFi: What is it, what benefits it brings and how to use it

Vo-WiFi is available on Jio and Airtel networks. So what is Vo-WiFi? It's Voice over WiFi and as the name suggests, it helps users make calls when a phone is connected to Wi-Fi. Here is a ready reckoner on it.

twitter-logo India Today Tech   New Delhi     Last Updated: March 3, 2020  | 09:27 IST
(Representative image)

Highlights

  • Vo-WiFi or Voice over WiFI has been designed to enhance calling experience of phone users.
  • The Vo-WiFi feature is now available in India to Airtel and Jio users.
  • Apart from helping users get better call experience, the Vo-WiFi is also expected to help Airtel and Jio take on apps like WhatsApp and Hangouts.

Do you use WhatsApp to make calls when your phone network fails? If yes, you may not have to if you are using Airtel or Jio network. This is because both networks now support -- the feature is not yet available in the entire network and is still rolling out to compatible phones and areas -- Vo-WiFi that is short for Voice over WiFi. The feature is aimed at helping Jio and Airtel decongest their networks and help users experience crisp calls even when the signal strength is low. This is because Vo-WiFi automatically allows the phone to switch between cellular connectivity and WiFi during calls.

Let us explain.

Vo-WiFi or Voice over Wi-Fi could be used in areas where there is hardly any network. This is because Vo-WiFi uses IEEE 802.11 -- that is fancy speak for WiFi -- to make calls. So, if your phone is connected to a good Wi-Fi network, say for example at your home, when you make a call using the phone's dialler or in other words the regular phone app, the call will go through the WiFi network. This is similar to how calls are made using WhatsApp but there is a slight difference, which is that if the WiFi network fails the call will be automatically routed to cellular network. In case of a WhatsApp call if WiFi network fails then the call will fail. There is no fallback option.

According to a report in ET, Airtel's VoWiFi has crossed one million users, with a month of its launch.

The interesting bit is that if VoWiFi gets enough attention, it can very well, soon enough, give competition to apps like WhatsApp, Viber and Hangouts that can be used to make VoIP calls.

How to use Vo-WiFi

It's quite simple actually. Here are the points to note.

-- Using Vo-WiFi is free on both Airtel and Jio networks. Also the support for the Vo-WiFi is automatic.

-- But to use it, you need a compatible phone and a reliable WiFi network. There is no condition as far as WiFi network. As long as you are connected to a fast Wi-Fi network, the Vo-WiFi will work.

-- As far as compatible phones are concerned, almost all recent phones are compatible. Both Airtel and Jio are working with top phone companies, including OnePlus, Xiaomi, Samsung and Apple, to enable support for Vo-WiFi in the phones they make.

Here is a list of phones that support Vo-WiFi on Jio and Airtel networks.

In case your phone is in the list of supported devices, and yet you don't get the option for Vo-WiFi in settings, you may need to update the software in your phone. You don't need to change your SIM card to get this feature if the SIM supports 4G. If it is a very old SIM card that doesn't support 4G, you may have to get a new replacement SIM from Airtel. All Jio SIM cards support 4G.

-- Before enabling the feature in phone settings, users may need to enable VoLTE on their Airtel and Jio SIM profiles. Once the VoLTE is enabled, users need to go to SIM Card & Networks, look for Airtel SIM and then head over to Make Calls using WiFi and turn it on.

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