AT&T applied to the FCC to request permission to offer Wi-Fi calling, complaining to the agency that other providers were offering the feature without the proper permission.
Well, now, it seems as though other companies are seeking the same regulatory approval, with Verizon having applied for permission, too. Technically, an FCC Waiver is required here because of the fact that Wi-Fi calling does not support an aging technology called teletypewriter (TTY), which helps the hearing impaired.
The FCC requires that all voice-call technology support text-to-speech technology for the hearing impaired, however, Wi-Fi calling does not. It's important to note, however, that AT&T is developing its own TTY replacement that is scheduled to be ready for consumer use by the end of 2016.
While Sprint and T-Mobile both currently offer Wi-Fi calling, their offering is apparently in violation of the law.
Verizon is asking for approval with the same conditions as AT&T, which will see Verizon develop its own TTY replacement. Both AT&T and Verizon's replacement will use real-time text, or RTT technology.
It's important to note that Verizon actually already offers Wi-Fi calling through an app on iOS, however, the FCC approval will eliminate the need for an app and will allow the provider to offer the service natively on both iOS and Android.
Wi-Fi calling itself, as the name suggests, allows for calls to be made over a Wi-Fi connection when there is either no network signal or when the network signal isn't of the best quality. Considering the fact that AT&T implemented the technology within a few days of receiving its waiver, it stands to reason that Verizon customers will get the feature within a matter of a few days as well.