Everything you need to know about WiFi Calling

What is WiFi Calling?

WiFi Calling (sometimes called VoWiFi) allows you to make and receive calls, texts and multimedia messages anywhere in the world using a suitable WiFi connection, even if there is no mobile coverage.

You can use WiFi Calling any time that your phone has a WiFi signal. It’s a great option if you have dodgy mobile reception, or if you’re travelling overseas.

With no apps to download, and no logins to remember, it’s easy to get chatting — just follow the steps below to enable WiFi Calling on your 2degrees phone.

How do I get WiFi Calling?

To get WiFi Calling you need to have a 2degrees phone compatible with WiFi Calling. If you haven’t updated your phone’s software for a while, you may want to do that now to ensure that you’re able to use this great feature.

Some new phones will already be WiFi Calling enabled, and some others will need a software update to enable WiFi Calling. You will need to accept this update to install the software.

On iPhones, once you update your software you should get a message called Service Provider Settings Update. If it doesn’t pop up straight away, go to Settings, then General, then About which should trigger it. If you still don’t see this message, then connect your iPhone to iTunes.

Once your software is updated, you can activate WiFi Calling from your phone settings. That's it! There is no other service sign-up or app download step required.

When WiFi Calling is enabled on your phone, you can talk anywhere there is WiFi - even if mobile coverage is unavailable. Your phone will automatically select WiFi Calling when suitable WiFi is available.

How to activate WiFi Calling

It's super easy to activate WiFi Calling on your device when it's supported by your model.

1. Enable WiFi Calling in device settings

Go to your phone Settings where you’ll be able to toggle WiFi Calling on. On the Samsung Galaxy devices, go to the Connections tab in your Phone Settings.

2. Connect to WiFi and get talking.

Wifi calling

On your Samsung phone, you’ll know WiFi Calling is activated when you see a small icon of a phone with radio waves pop up in the notification bar at the top of the screen.

On your iPhone you’ll see 2degrees WiFi Calling at the top left of your screen, or on an iPhone X, these words will appear in the Control Centre (swipe down from the top right of the screen).

If you can't connect, try restarting your phone and if for any reason WiFi Calling isn’t doing what you expect, you can go back to your phone settings and turn it off.

Things to know about WiFi Calling

  • Some WiFi hotspots may not allow open access to the internet for WiFi Calling to work. Examples include airports, hotels and some corporate WiFi hotspots.
  • There are a few phone functions that are not supported by WiFi Calling:
    • Once you first enable WiFi Calling, 3G video calls will not work whether you’re on WiFi Calling or on mobile. To get it working again, you’ll need to turn off WiFi Calling and then call our Customer Care team who will remove you from the WiFi Calling list.
    • Changing your Call Forwarding or Voicemail settings. Pop back to the mobile network and these functions will work again.
    • Using USSD short-codes to check or manage your Spend Control. This will work again when you’re back on the mobile network.
    • Emergency calls and Civil Defence notifications

How much does it cost to use WiFi Calling?

WiFi Calling costs depend on where you’re making the call from i.e. within New Zealand or overseas. If you’re overseas, calling charges are also based on whether you’re calling home or making a call to another country.

Using WiFi Calling in New Zealand

When you’re in New Zealand and use WiFi Calling, calls and texts come out of your Plan or Add-on as they usually do – no extra mobile charges, just extra coverage. However, WiFi Calling will use internet data and may be subject to data charges depending on how you’re connecting to WiFi.

If you're on Prepay, you'll be charged at New Zealand standard Prepay Rates whether you're in New Zealand or calling home from overseas.

Using WiFi Calling when you’re overseas

WiFi Calling is another great way to reduce costs when you travel or roam overseas because once your phone establishes connection to our network with WiFi Calling, the call or text is treated as if you’re located in New Zealand* if you are contacting a New Zealand or Aussie number. 

However, if you are overseas and call or text a country other than New Zealand or Aussie, roaming rates may apply. This includes calls or texts sent within the overseas destination you’re in.

Handy hint: If you want to be sure that when you’re overseas you only use WiFi Calling (and don’t connect to local mobile networks at all), you can put your phone into flight mode, then activate WiFi and WiFi Calling only. This should ensure you don't incur additional roaming charges.

*Broadband charges may apply if you’re not using 2degrees broadband. NZ international call rates apply, including to all calls made from overseas to destinations besides New Zealand and Aussie. This includes calls made within the destination you are visiting. WiFi Calling T&Cs apply.

How much broadband data will WiFi Calling use and what will the data charges be?

A good quality WiFi call is very efficient and WiFi Calling should use very little data.

Using WiFi Calling with your 2degrees Broadband

If you use your 2degrees Broadband Plan to make WiFi Calls, we will not charge you for the data you use. This is great news for those who live or work rurally and in the areas of New Zealand that may have no or variable mobile coverage.

Using WiFi Calling with another broadband provider

If the WiFi you use to make WiFi Calls is not ‘free’ or connected to an unlimited broadband plan, you will incur broadband charges from your broadband provider for the data you use. It’s still cost-effective, though, as WiFi Calling only uses about 1MB (megabyte) of broadband data per minute, so 1GB (gigabyte) of broadband data will give you approximately 1,000 minutes of WiFi calls.

What broadband bandwidth is needed for WiFi Calling to work properly?

WiFi Calling is very efficient and uses only around 100–120kbps. The majority of broadband services should be easily capable of running WiFi calls.

WiFi Calling uses only a small percentage of your broadband service, however, if all of your flatmates or family are simultaneously using WiFi on multiple devices for streaming videos or downloading big files, then it may result in a slight loss of voice quality of your call.

If I make a call using WiFi Calling, what happens when I enter or leave WiFi coverage?

If you have an active WiFi call and you leave your WiFi network/hotspot then the call will drop once the signal quality of the WiFi connection becomes too weak.

If you have an active mobile call as you move into a WiFi coverage area, then your mobile call will remain active on cellular until it has finished. After this, your phone will switch over to WiFi Calling.

If you are on an active mobile call as you move into a WiFi coverage area, your phone will search for WiFi and VoLTE coverage. If it identifies both forms of coverage, your call will switch to WiFi coverage. 

Similarly, if you start a call in WiFi coverage and then move out of WiFi range, your phone will switch to VoLTE calling if it can identify WiFi and VoLTE coverage.

How do I make a WiFi call when I’m overseas?

After enabling WiFi Calling on your phone (you only need to do this once), you must connect to a WiFi network before your phone automatically uses WiFi Calling.

When you’re travelling internationally and want to make a phone call on your mobile, you need to include the International Calling Code at the start of the number even if you’re calling someone within the destination you’re in.

If you want to call 022 123 456, simply drop the ‘0’ and replace it with the country code which starts with ‘+’.

New Zealand’s International Calling Code is +64, which means that to call the above number you would dial +64 22 132 456.

Every country has their own International Calling Code, to find the codes for other destinations, search on countrycode.org.

Any overseas short-codes, freephone or premium numbers will not work when you have WiFi Calling enabled.

Tip: If you travel overseas often, save your most frequently called numbers, such as family, friends and colleagues, into your contacts list in the international dialling format (with a + sign). And don’t worry, when you save numbers this way, you’ll still be able to make and receive calls and texts just as normal when you’re back in New Zealand

Will WiFi Calling work with any WiFi hotspot?

WiFi Calling will work with most WiFi hotspots, but first your phone will test the quality of the WiFi and internet connections to determine if they’re good enough for WiFi Calling. If so, then you’ll see the WiFi Calling icon appear at the top of your screen.

Some WiFi hotspots may not have a good enough connection to the internet, or may have some services blocked – for example, some corporate networks may have restrictions on the WiFi they offer.

If the WiFi hotspot cannot support WiFi Calling, your phone will continue to use the mobile network where you have coverage.

Does 2degrees track my location when I use WiFi Calling?

When you use WiFi Calling, your mobile will only send 2degrees the information of which country you are calling to and from. We use this information to ensure we are charging correctly for the calls made from your location. So that we can ensure the correct billing, we also track the country you are calling to.

What happens to emergency calls and alerts when WiFi Calling is on?

Emergency calls will try to use mobile network coverage first, even if you are using WiFi Calling. Only if there’s no mobile coverage will your phone use WiFi. If you are overseas and you have no mobile coverage, emergency calls over WiFi will fail.

If you’re using WiFi Calling in an area without 2degrees mobile coverage, you won't receive any New Zealand Civil Defence emergency mobile alerts. If you’re using WiFi Calling and your phone has 2degrees mobile coverage, you’ll receive these alerts as usual.

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