South African operator Cell C will launch Wi-Fi Calling to its entire customer base on 01 October. This turns any Wi-Fi hotspot into a Cell C base station. Unlike VoIP services (app to app calling), customers do not have to download an application but simply enable the service via their phone settings on a supported Wi-Fi enabled handset. Customers need to ensure that the Wi-Fi Calling icon appears at the top of their phone screen when using the service.
Both contract and prepaid customers will benefit if they have a Wi-Fi Calling-enabled handset, a Cell C USIM and connection to a hotspot. Cell C expects this will cause a dramatic increase in the number of devices that support the service, as its platform allows handset providers to roll out their Wi-Fi offering in a matter of weeks.
One can use the handset’s regular dial to make a call and use USSD, or the messaging service to send a text message. International travellers will be able to use a hotel or other Wi-Fi hotspot to make calls at their local Cell C tariff rate when dialling anyone in the world on any mobile network. It will not cost them anything to receive a call.
Cell-C’s new service is powered by Atos’s WiFi Calling platform, announced in February. The ICT company said that that Cell C is amongst the first operators to have launched its solution on such a wide scale.