Rogers currently has a WiFi calling system dubbed One Number that works on iOS, but come this fall users won’t even need to open an app to avoid using their minutes.
While Apple likely announced WiFi calling, which is the ability to connect a regular circuit-switched call to another device over WiFi instead of cellular networks, to be used with its Continuity service — making and receiving calls on the iPad and Mac — it facitilitates a glorious side effect. Many Canadians still have contracts that limit them to a certain number of minutes per month, or that charge extra for long distance. WiFi Calling avoids those limitations while routing the call through one’s same phone number, so not only is it higher quality due to the greater bandwidth of WiFi, but it can save you money because it doesn’t knock monthly minutes.
In a statement, Rogers said, “We’ll support the iOS 8 Wi-Fi calling feature when it becomes available in Canada. In the meantime, Rogers customers using the Rogers One Number service on their computer, tablet or smartphone can already make calls over Wi-Fi. They can video chat with other Rogers One Number users or call any Canadian number for free, no matter where they are. For more info on Rogers One Number http://Rogers.com/OneNumber.”
One Number has not been as successful for Rogers as they’d like, mainly because the service is confusing and the apps are poorly made on iOS and Android. Let’s hope other carriers, like Bell and TELUS, get on board with WiFi calling in iOS 8, too.
BlackBerry, once upon a time, used WiFi calling to differentiate its devices from the competition. The service never really caught on, but Rogers still supports the UMA protocol — Unlicensed Mobile Access — for its business customers, which allows a clean handover between WiFi and 3G if the caller goes out of WiFi range. Unlike the old days of UMA on BlackBerry’s, though, it doesn’t look like Rogers will charge for WiFi calling on iOS 8.