TELUS Extend takes on Rogers One Number by bringing free voice and text to tablets and the web

TELUS has launched a new service in beta that allows smartphone, tablet and laptop users to make phone calls and send text messages over WiFi. Called TELUS Extend, it will be available for free to all existing wireless subscribers.

Similar to Rogers One Number, the app bypasses TELUS’s cellular network to initiate calls, and doesn’t count towards a customer’s monthly voice or text allotment.

Extend also allows TELUS customers to make calls to any North American number free of charge, regardless of whether their plan has a long distance add-on.

Meant to augment a customer’s existing cellular plan, Extend lets customers make and receive calls on a tablet or laptop (OS X or Windows), similar to the Handoff function natively offered by Apple on OS X Yosemite. There are also native iOS and Android apps.

Extend is currently in closed beta before being opened to the public; TELUS says it has sent out 10,000 invites to select customers, many of whom have been chosen in areas known to have poor network coverage. Extend is an IP-based solution for TELUS customers who don’t always have great coverage in their neighbourhoods, as well as for frequent travellers and business users who spend a lot of time on their computers.

Rogers One Number, which is powered by Vancouver-based Counterpath, was launched in 2012, and has since rolled out from the PC to tablets and smartphones.