May 16, 2011

T-Mobile Brings Back Free Wi-Fi Calling


T-Mobile answered the call of its customer base on Friday by reintroducing its highly popular free Wi-Fi calling service for subscribers with select mobile phone plans.

The nation's fourth-largest carrier formerly offered the service free of charge, but then began deducting in-plan minutes for customers who placed or received calls using Wi-Fi. As of Friday, Wi-Fi calls no longer take minutes away from subscribers. Best of all, the free service is unlimited.

"This is not only a great value, being FREE, but can help customers who experience coverage issues in areas that Wi-Fi is available," T-Mobile said in a statement.

Customers must have Wi-Fi-enabled handsets and subscribe to "Even More" and "Even More Plus" postpaid rate plans to be eligible to take advantage of the feature.

The news was originally leaked via an internal employee memo acquired by TMoNews and was later confirmed by T-Mobile. The launch date was originally supposed to be on May 11, but was soon pushed back to Friday, May 13. Eligible customers should have been notified by an SMS text blast.

Additionally, TMoNews has reported that T-Mobile will soon launch Name ID, which is basically caller ID for mobile phones. The feature, expected to be introduced on May 22, will enable users to see the name, number, city and state of unblocked callers who are not filed away in their contacts list.

The carrier is also set to add voicemail-to-text functionality to its Visual Voicemail offering, according to a separate employee memo leaked to the news source. The service can transcribe voicemails into text messages that are sent directly to users' handsets. Both these features are currently available through other wireless providers, but stand as a nice addition for T-Mobile customers. The voicemail-to-text feature is also expected to launch on May 22.

The new features may help to appease existing customers who are worried that the pending acquisition of T-Mobile by competing carrier AT&T could result in price increases—if the deal is approved by the FCC and the Department of Justice.


Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Rich Steeves




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