Vodacom announced that it made the first ever commercial voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) call in South Africa on 4 June 2015. The service is now live across the Vodacom network.
“The move to use Wi-Fi technology to carry voice traffic will mean better call quality for consumers,” said Vodacom.
“By integrating Wi-Fi into its network as another voice carrier, Vodacom is ensuring a seamless voice experience no matter what the connection.”
The first call was made by Vodacom’s network engineering officer Beverly Ngwenya to Vodacom’s CTO Andries Delport.
“Aside from seamless call quality, there are a number of consumer benefits that come with Wi-Fi calling. One of the most significant is the ability to make a call using your cellphone number with no need for additional apps,” said Delport.
VoWiFi differs from other applications that allow voice calling over a data network, in that it uses the built-in voice dialling feature of the phone and thus your normal cellphone number to make a call.
At present, there are only a small number of test Samsung Galaxy S6 devices in the country that have the ability to make VoWiFi calls.
However, Vodacom is working with Samsung on a software update which will be released once final testing is complete.
VoWiFi technology will also assist in improving coverage where normal cell signals battle to reach, such as inside office blocks or in the basement of shopping centres.
In the future, VoWiFi will also offer a solution for remote sites that have Wi-Fi coverage – like guest lodges in game reserves.
Calls made over a Wi-Fi network will be billed using existing minutes. No data costs will be incurred when making a Wi-Fi call.