THROWBACK THURSDAY: That time I didn’t think Wi-Fi Calling would amount to much

I love doing this blog. What I don’t like is when it provides concrete evidence that I’m wrong when I forecast something. I was pretty bearish about Wi-Fi calling back in 2013. I said it was a “total-non-starter.”

Only problem – I use Wi-Fi calling a lot. Both iOS and Android have built the capability in, and I have to admit that it works in places where I can get Wi-Fi but I can’t get cell service. Sadly, there are still parts of our country where that’s true. If it happens at home or in the lab, I have a cell booster at the ready, but more often it will happen in the middle of a mall or large store, especially one of those 1970s “brutalist” monstrosities that are still out there populating cities and towns all over this country. The sheer amount of concrete and the dark brown color mixed in (often created by adding iron oxide to the concrete) tend to block signals quite effectively. When places like that offer free Wi-Fi, I take them up on it since it’s usually the only way I’ll get cell service.

Wi-Fi Calling sometimes causes a little drop in signal when it comes in and out, but honestly otherwise works quite well. It doesn’t work as well as a cell booster, and I tend to think that’s a better alternative if you can get one put in. A cell booster helps everyone, regardless of whether or not they have the Wi-Fi password or even if their phone doesn’t support Wi-Fi Calling. It’s an automatic way to blanket a large area with great cell service. I wish those crumbling old malls would put them in, but then again the history of bad decisions they’ve made is probably why they’re crumbling. Why start making smart decisions now?

Bottom line though, I said Wi-Fi Calling wouldn’t amount to much. I was wrong, because I didn’t count on the OS makers really embracing it as they did. Maybe I’ve gotten smarter in four years… maybe on the other hand I’ll be writing another article like this in 2021. Who knows? Hopefully I’ll see you then.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.