Optus customers to get Wi-Fi calling on iOS and Android

Optus has announced its intention to offer customers the ability to make and receive calls and text messages over Wi-Fi to its Android and iPhone customers later this year.

Optus could be the first mobile telco in Australia to allow its customers to make voice calls over Wi-Fi, with the company planning on making the feature available later this year.

Wi-Fi calling aims to allow customers who have limited mobile signal in their homes to continue to make calls and send texts by using the home Wi-Fi network instead.

In the UK, EE has begun rolling it out for the Microsoft Lumia 640, the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, and the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Australia appears to be following the trend, with Optus revealing that it intends to allow customers to use their home Wi-Fi networks to make calls and send texts from later this year.

On the Optus customer support forum, an employee confirmed on Thursday that the company has plans for Wi-Fi calling.

"Happy to advise that we'll have a service coming soon for Android and iPhones that'll provide you the ability to make and receive calls & text messages over a Wi-Fi connection -- this is currently expected to be available later in the year."

ZDNet sought additional details from Optus, but the company said it has no further information to announce at this time.

"Optus is always looking at ways to enhance our customer experience, and we're currently working on exciting developments for Wi-Fi calling," the spokesperson said.

Vodafone, at last check, was said to be in discussion with Apple about Wi-Fi calling, while Telstra has yet to announce any plans.

It comes as last month, Optus CEO Allen Lew said he was considering making streaming video-on-demand service Netflix pay for guaranteed speeds on the company's network, as Optus looks to ensure that it can continue investing in the network.

"We will continue to preserve net neutrality, but we're talking about the possibility, for example, for specifically a premium service that we, as a network provider, can ensure to an OTT [over-the-top] provider if they pay for it," he said.

"To ensure the best customer experience that is cheap for the user, we need to ensure that the OTT providers -- whether they are Netflix or others -- understand that to preserve the network quality and to give you a HD video in the home, they need to work collaboratively with us."

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