Bell and Virgin Mobile launch Wi-Fi Calling for older iPhones

Daniel Bader

January 25, 2016 11:53am

Bell has launched its Wi-Fi Calling feature on iPhones older than last year’s iPhone 6s and 6s Plus. Originally launched back in September alongside Apple’s newest handsets, Bell says that it has expanded the feature to include the iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Virgin Mobile users can also enable Wi-Fi Calling.

Aimed at minimizing areas of poor call quality through low cellular signal, Wi-Fi Calling routes phone calls through home or public WiFi networks, allowing users to connect in more areas. The feature is especially useful for people that don’t have great cellular coverage at home — perhaps at the edge of a tower, or an overloaded node — and don’t want to resort to other VoIP services. Wi-Fi Calling also seamlessly routes calls between WiFi and cellular without dropped calls.

Bell says the update is only available to iPhone 5s and iPhone 6 customers with unlimited nationwide calling plans, which mainly encompasses those with the most pricey share plans. Those plans rose in price by $5 earlier this month.

To receive the update to enable Wi-Fi Calling, head to Settings/General/About and accept the prompt to update Carrier Software. The latest version is 23.1 for Bell and Virgin customers.

To enable Wi-Fi Calling, head to Settings/Phone/Wi-Fi Calling.

  • OMFCody

    I think it’s crazy how it’s 2016 and Telus still doesn’t offer wi-fi calling (and for all iOS and Android devices). Anyone who lives in Newfoundland (and I’m sure areas of other Provinces) know how many areas have no cell service…

    • Shushwap

      Telus does offer Wifi calling

      Telus Extend

    • An over-the-top VoIP app is not quite the same as native Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi).

    • Ipse

      ….and it’s NOT available on Koodo and Public Mobile….
      This would help tons when traveling.

    • OMFCody

      Yes that’s an app, not the feature the phone has that the carrier blocks. I’ll also add the extend app has a lengthy invite only process, and has only been avaliable for a short time while wi-fi calling is far from a new thing.

    • MassDeduction

      Why limit it only to iOS and Android devices? They’ve sold Windows Phones that support the feature too. Lots of European carriers have rolled out WiFi calling on Windows Phones, as has T-Mobile in the U.S.

  • Elton Bello

    Obv, they were waiting to eliminate the byod and with that money finance this haha

  • HiKsFiles

    Apparently, my actual isn’t compatible with the service.

    Here’s my plan:
    – Share Data Ultd QC Plus 50 $50.00/mo.
    – Unl. nationwide member talking
    – Can-Can Text – Unlimited
    – Unlimited Picture and Video Messaging
    – .50 Canada to US LD
    – Call Display
    – Message Centre
    – Mobile TV Promotion
    – Unlimited Local Talking
    – Unlimited Quebec long distance
    – Call Waiting, Conference Calling

    WTF ?! Ain’t that enough??

    • OMFCody

      I believe the minimum is $70/month which is ridiculous but will only increase over time.

    • jimmy hoffa

      its because you have unlimited nationwide MEMBER talking, member being the restriction in that sentence, the article states you must have unlimited nationwide calling . period. customers with unlimited nationwide calling plans,”

  • VoWiFi is also useful when roaming, e.g. use the hotel WiFi to check your texts and make a call.

  • HHM

    Only available with one of Virgin Mobile’s Platinum plans. How is it justified limiting a phone’s feature to only the most expensive plans?