The Opportunity of VoWiFi Calls

Wasio Abbasi
August 26, 2015

In a recent development, Vodacom has successfully tested Voice of WiFi (VoWiFi) call in South Africa. Vodacom has integrated WiFi hotspots in its networks and seamless call was made by a network engineer to Vodacom CTO. Samsung S6 has built-in VoWiFi technology that was used for this test.

The VoWiFi technology uses WiFi hotspots to allow for voice calling simply by dialing the number and it will connect like a regular call does. With WiFi hotspots the stress on telecom networks reduces that often struggle to reach remote areas in residential/commercial structures or the signal quality is affected in presence of significant number of high-rise buildings. Vodacom is working with Samsung on an update that would be released for Samsung devices, enabling them to use VoWiFi for voice calling.

In Pakistan the potential for such a technology is high. If we only consider Karachi, most telecom companies struggle to provide consistent call quality across the city. There are several patches where one or more telecom service providers struggle with call drops and weak signals, particularly basement areas that do not receive signals properly. Such areas and buildings often have WiFi networks with strong signals that can compliment the weakness in services of telecom operators.

The challenge would be constant power cuts that plague the whole country. Electricity shortage has been a major cause of concern for business community of Pakistan and pose several challenges in carrying out the operations. The same challenge will be faced in the case of promoting VoWiFi calls that could fail as soon as power to WiFi router fails.

Still, the benefits of having this facility are greater than the challenges like power failures. WiFi networks will further enhance the existing networks of telecom companies and good quality voice calls would be enabled for people in more remote areas.

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