**Editor’s Note: Which is America’s top wireless network? Click here to see what we discovered.**
T-Mobile US Inc. on Wednesday announced that all its new smartphones will be capable of making calls and texts via Wi-Fi at no additional cost to customers, a move aimed at extending coverage where there is poor cellular reception or cellular networks are unavailable.
T-Mobile, the fast-growing wireless carrier, said it will open an enrollment window so its customers can immediately upgrade to a Wi-Fi-capable smartphone. T-Mobile rolled out the Wi-Fi calling and texting on its network. The new capabilities are poised to deliver fewer dropped calls and high-quality, high-definition voice between T-Mobile’s VoLTE network and smartphones that are compatible with Wi-Fi, the Bellevue, Washington-based company said.
The “Wi-Fi Un-leashed” initiative is part of T-Mobile’s broader “Un-carrier” strategy to distance itself from its rivals by showing that the mobile operator offers customers more choices and flexibility. The strategy has been working, with T-Mobile courting 1.5 million new subscribers in the second quarter. It was the fifth consecutive period that the nation’s fourth-largest wireless operator wooed more than 1 million new customers.
T-Mobile said customers won’t need to install an application or have a separate ID to use the Wi-Fi phones, which will enable them to make free Wi-Fi calls to the United States from anywhere outside the country.
John Legere, president and CEO of T-Mobile, compared the Wi-Fi strategy to “adding millions of towers to our network in a single day.”
In a related development, aiming to solve the conundrum many Americans face at home — dropped calls — T-Mobile announced a new Wi-Fi device that can replace an existing residential Wi-Fi router or operate alongside it. The “Personal CellSpot” features technology that prioritizes voice calls, the company said. Starting September 17, Simple Choice customers with a broadband connection and a Wi-Fi-calling ready smartphone can obtain the device with a $25 refundable deposit.
Finally, T-Mobile announced a partnership with Gogo through which customers can send and receive unlimited text and picture messages, and obtain visual voicemail on any Gogo-equipped flight on U.S.-based airlines. T-Mobile said the service will cover more than 75 percent of domestic flights.
For a look at wireless network performance in 50 of the largest markets, and how T-Mobile stacks up against its competitors, check out this gallery from Channel Partners.