What is Wi-Fi Calling and Why Would I Want It?

CellphoneMoneyI have a number of interests other than genealogy, perhaps too many interests. One of my major interests is using technology to simplify my life or to save money or both. In this case, I have recently used new technology to cut my monthly cell phone bills by more than 60%. In some months, it has been a 90% savings. In return, I have received better cell phone service than ever before.

Today, I wrote a rather lengthy article about my experiences. Since the topic has nothing to do with genealogy, I will not publish it here. However, if you have an interest in saving money or in receiving better cell phone service, you might be interested in reading What is Wi-Fi Calling and Why Would I Want It? in my other blog: the Privacy Blog at https://privacyblog.com/2016/08/01/what-is-wi-fi-calling-and-why-would-i-want-it/.

3 Comments

Thanks for the detailed article! I’d previously made a note to look into Google Fi when my Verizon contract is up later this month. I’ve always used Verizon since they have had the most U.S. coverage and we take trips (e.g. drive between national parks) out west. I just attempted to compare Google Fi’s coverage map (combination of Sprint, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular) with Verizon’s and found it very difficult without having a specific destination in mind. Wi-Fi in the hotels would solve one problem but I’m trying to determine whether I would be decreasing the chance of having coverage in the event of a problem on the road.

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    —> …but I’m trying to determine whether I would be decreasing the chance of having coverage in the event of a problem on the road.

    I suspect everyone’s experience will be different from everyone else’s, depending upon the coverage available where you normally travel.

    I first switched from AT&T to Republic Wireless and got mixed results. AT&T’s signal at my home is weak. The AT&T cell phone worked well on the second floor of the house, was marginal when I was on the ground floor, and rarely worked when I was in the basement. I missed a lot of calls when I was in the basement. Republic Wireless’s coverage was better coverage in and around my home (thanks to wi-fi) but slightly worse than that of AT&T when driving around town.

    HOWEVER, when I switched to Google Project Fi, I received much better coverage than I ever had before with any of the previous cellular companies I have tried. (I haven’t tried ALL of them, however.) Keep in mind that Google Project Fi automatically switches from T-Mobile to Sprint to US Cellular to wi-fi as needed. That combination seems to work well where I have traveled. There is one well-known dead spot about a mile from my house. When driving through that area, the AT&T, T-Mobile, and Republic Wireless phones would always drop a call. Google Project Fi never drops a call when I am in that area.

    I have never had a problem with Google Project Fi’s coverage although I admit that I do not drive around with my eyes constantly fixed on the cell phone looking for signal strength. All I can say is that I have never had a problem with dropped calls anywhere I have traveled and that includes about 20 states and 7 countries. However, it is very possible that I lost coverage for a while when I was not talking on the phone and not looking at the phone.

    In another part of the country, I suspect coverage will be different.

    There is one easy answer: purchase the new dual mode cell phone of your choice and use it as a second cell phone for a while. See how it works out for you in the areas where your travel. If you decide to keep the new phone, you can cancel the old phone and have the old phone number ported to your new phone at any time. Unlike the old-fashioned cellular companies, both Republic Wireless and Google Project Fi allow you to cancel at any time. There are no contractual minimums.

    However, if you purchase a Republic Wireless phone, you are stuck with it or you can sell it on eBay. Republic Wireless phones cannot be used on other networks.

    Google Project Fi phones are the opposite: they can be switched to any other cellular network so an investment in a new Google Project Fi phone will not be lost if you later switch to a different network.

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A little over a year ago, after reading your articles and doing some research, I cancelled Verizon and signed up with Republic Wireless. I have NOT regretted it for one minute. My phone bill was $165.00/month with Verizon (for three lines, one was a smart phone). Now each line costs $12.42/month. For me this has been a win/win, the same service for a lot less.

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