Offer WiFi Calling as a feature on all Ting devices

This feature would make life much easier for people with bad indoor Sprint coverage.  I see there's a well-regarded thread at https://help.ting.com/entries/20947922-reducing-my-bill-via-free-texting-and-calls-over-wifi , but that's a heck of a kludge relying on Google Voice and 3rd party apps.

I only recently learned that TMobile has had free WiFi calling for a long time.

I'm not asking for free, though.  CHARGE US per minute, just let us route the calls over available WiFi, and you can pocket the airtime savings.  At least our calls will go through!

Most of the pieces are already available (and pretty much all Ting devices have WiFi), so I would guess it wouldn't take a whole lot more than a souped up Asterisk server and some custom scripting at your end.

Please consider this feature.

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90 comments
  • i am looking to buy a cell phone and use tings service. I do not have internet at home. How do i get wifi or internet for my phone>?

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  • We're now offering the Airave, which you can plug into your highspeed Internet connection to essentially do the same thing (though only at one location).

    You can read about it in our blog post at https://ting.com/blog/airave-in-bound-to-ting/ and order it at https://ting.com/devices/Sprint-Airave on our Devices page.

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  • Yes, thanks, I know, but what I'm proposing would be FAR more flexible (and hardware and location independent).  Would you folks consider it?  A Ting-provided SIP gateway setup could provide much better reliability (and branding) than the various hacks in use.

    And again, I'd welcome getting charged for the minutes, which could help fund any development expenses.

    (And while I have your attention, could you please see my request about roaming?  It's pretty broken for me.)

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  • I double-checked on this for you and it's something we'd love to offer in the future and we're definitely going to look into it.

    I'll reply to your roaming question in that thread. :)

    Andrew

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  • Oh that's cool, thanks Andrew.  So with the "no" on roaming control I'm one for two today.  :)

     

    I've seen you guys move pretty fast on other stuff so I'm really looking forward to a WiFi calling feature some day in the not-too-distant future. 

     

    (Whoa, it seems a significant chunk of TMobile's setup is open source!  It runs over their instant message system.  http://code.google.com/p/the-ims-open-source-project-for-android/ )

     

    Thanks.

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  • No problem. :)

    Just keep in mind that I can't guarantee it's something that will happen. It is definitely something we want to do someday though.

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  • Sprint and wifi calling.  How does the information below apply or doesn't apply to Ting (current and future)?

    http://www.pocketables.com/2011/06/how-to-enable-wifi-calling-on-your-htc-evo.html

    Fortunately, with GrooveIP and Sprint's recently announced integration with Google Voice, you can turn your HTC EVO into quite a capable WiFi-calling and texting device that you can use virtually anywhere in the world that you have a solid WiFi signal. Best of all: rooting is not required!

     To get started, you will need to:

    1.  Sign up for a Google Voice account, if you don't have one already.

    1. Once you are signed in to your Google Voice account, or during the registration process, be sure to enable Google Voice-Sprint integration. This should be an option after entering your Sprint number during the registration process. If you already have an account, just access your "Voice settings" and then click "change/port" next to your Sprint mobile number in the "Phones" tab and follow the on-screen instructions.

    Integrating your Sprint and Google Voice accounts will allow you to use your Sprint number when making outbound calls or sending text messages through Google Voice, while still retaining full control over your mobile number. In other words, you get all the benefits of porting your number to Google Voice, without the hassle and headache of actually doing so. Best of all, if you already have Google Voice and you want to keep your old Google Voice number, Google will allow you to do so for a $20 fee. You can read more about integration  here.

    1. Once you have the Google Voice-Sprint integration enabled, download Google Voice from the Market and GrooveIP from either the Market or the Amazon Appstore. The Market currently has the app listed for $3.99, while it's on sale at Amazon for $1.99. The caveat is that updates are generally available quicker from the Market, so you'll have to decide which is more important to you: faster updates or more money in your bank account.

    2. Once you have both apps installed, sign in to each of them using your same Google Voice username and password. (If you were already using the Google Voice app before enabling Google Voice-Sprint integration, you'll have to fully sign out and sign back in again.)

    ————————————

    That's it! You can now make and receive phone calls to and from your Sprint number using GrooveIP over WiFi, and you can send and receive texts from your Sprint number using the Google Voice app, from anywhere in the world that has WiFi. You can even tweak GrooveIP's settings to allow you to use the app with your native phone dialer. To test this, you can put your phone in airplane mode, enable WiFi, and ensure you are signed in to both apps.

    There are some things to keep in mind.

    First, in order to properly receive phone calls over WiFi, you'll have to stay signed in to GrooveIP and make sure that you have Google Talk enabled in your Google Voice phone settings on the web. You'll also need to be signed out of Gmail chat on all other computers.

    Second, call quality might not be as good as a normal cell connection, as many users of GrooveIP have reported echoes or delays. However, the developer has gained a reputation for being quick to respond to inquiries, and he frequently releases updates aimed at improving both call quality and the overall user experience.

    Third, keep in mind that MMS won't work using this method, as the Google Voice app does not support this yet.

    For many, however, the benefits make this method well worth the five minutes it takes to set up. You will now be able to continue using your phone with only a WiFi connection, without paying for an Airave or using other cumbersome or clunky VOIP solutions.

    Best of all, you can take your EVO with you on vacation and keep in touch with friends and family, without worrying about a huge roaming bill when you get back. You can even use this method on any old, deactivated Android phone you have laying around the house to have a back-up, WiFi-only phone that is still connected to your current Sprint number.

    If you try this out on your EVO, be sure to let us know in the comments how this is working out for you!

    This guest tutorial was written by John Freml.

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  • Google Voice works fine with Ting. I'd actually recommend checking out our Google Voice forum (at https://help.ting.com/forums/21126483-google-voice) if you have any particular questions.

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  • Hi. Does this only work for the EVO? I have the LG Marquee running Android 2.3. I'm too much of a newb to know if this would work on my phone.

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  • It should work fine on your Marquee; try reading through this thread in the Google Voice section for more information.

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  • You guys should just buy Republic Wireless and put them out of their misery (and give us WIFI calling too)

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  • I've been using T-Mobile WiFi calling for several years, and love it (even with the occasional echo and loss of connection when I walk between APs at opposite ends of the house). My previous [flip] phones were [decreasingly] more stable with WiFi calling than my LG Optimus, but the Optimus is still usable. We got the WiFi option first for the unlimited minutes, but also appreciate the signal boost when in fringe areas (when we can get decent WiFi, that is).

    I can see that a femtocell with Sprint Air-Rave could be very helpful, but I'm skeptical that I can match the $30 I paid for a T-Mobile router with SIM card slots (so I could use my T-Mobile VOIP service). I'll be searching for one all the same. I understand that some models are not adaptable to Ting, so I will be looking at those specs as well.

     

    I've been touting the benefit of T-Mobile's WiFi calling for some time, since it works with any WiFi AP that the phone can connect to, unlike femtocell usage, which only helps when at home.

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  • Another question - I was prompted that Google Voice integration doesn't work with my phone. Is that a feature lacking on the Optimus, or will I see it work the next time I try it?

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  • Google Voice doesn't integrate with Ting the way it does with Sprint®*. The best bet is to use an app like GrooveIP, though you still need separate Google Voice and Ting numbers.

    *Sprint is a trademark of Sprint.

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  • On first inspection, it's not clear whether Google Voice works over the WiFi - I'm hoping that's the case; at least calls to my "home" phone will come through or go out clearly.

    Any schedule on when Google Voice Integration will be available, or when a full WiFi calling capability will come online? (Perhaps acquisition of Republic Wireless - that sounds like an effective solution) :-)

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  • Also, for someone like my friend Larry, whom I persuaded to switch from AT&T to Ting, I don't see GrooveIP as a solution that he could use. I might be able to install a femtocell at his home, if the price is not excessive (somewhere between free and $50 would probably be acceptable). And, it looks like a femtocell would be the best solution for my home as well, again at a reasonable price.

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  • Hi Don,

    The Republic Wireless service looks neat, unfortunately, the phone selection is limited since they require custom firmware to support the WiFi calling features. Regarding Google Voice integration, I'll make sure to put a +1 next to that feature on your behalf.

    Thanks!
    -B

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  • We're looking pretty seriously at introducing a SIP-based wi-fi calling option.

    Nothing confirmed yet, but very likely for 2014.

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  • I have to tell you, Rob. The fact that you came back to a thread that hadn't been updated in 6 months to provide that info is freaking awesome.

    I am super excited about the possibility of wifi calling. I would tell you to keep us posted, but it looks like you're already doing that!

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  • Hey Charles,

    We're all about keeping the conversation going -- hearing what is requested, and doing what we can to make it happen. We don't just say "thanks for your suggestion" -- we take a look at them and see what we can do. Plus, Rob is freaking awesome. So that helps. 

    We're all excited to see whats in store for Ting in 2014.

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  • OH very cool! 

     

    Google has already said they will discontinue XMPP support on May 15, 2014 for Google Voice which means GrooveIP and all other 3rd party apps will stop working ... including my beloved Obi device :sigh:

    So this is perfect timing!

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  • Please let us know when we can expect a WIFI calling solution from Ting, hopefully before May 2014.  I imagine this is very important to many of Ting's customers.  Thanks!

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  • I, too, am really looking for something like the WiFi calling that Republic Wireless advertises. If someone calls me on my Ting phone when I'm home, I have to choose: do I run outside and stand in the driveway to talk to them (not an option right now in the frigid weather we're having in upstate NY, but I've done it in warmer weather) or do I let the call go to voicemail, knowing I might have to go outside to hear the message played back, or do I answer and try to make them understand that I'll call them back using my landline, when it's likely that my connection will be so bad they may not understand me.

    I love Ting, but the lure of a $299 Moto X and a $10/month phone bill is very tempting.

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  • Melissa an Airave should solve your problem with poor wireless in house.  Not a perfect nor cheap solution but it works.  At least with airave you are not limited to phones.

    Hoping Ting wifi solution will allow me to kill my airave. 

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  • I am waiting for a wifi calling feature. I am currently on T-Mobile and would love to switch to ting.

    This is the only thing stopping me from making the switch.

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  • Would wifi calling count against minutes/texts? 

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  • We're still developing this feature.  No final decisions  have been on the product itself or the billing.  Keep your eye on our blog - https://ting.com/blog/ - we'll post the details there once that feature is released.

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  • Still ironing things out. Most likely won't be unlimited. Hoping to have something by mid 2014. More info coming soon!

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  • I am super stoked to see how committed Ting is to open communication, continuing this thread and working on the project. I also used another company's VIOP integration and handover to cellular. It was awesome. I am looking forward to seeing it come to fruition. As the saying goes "you guys rock!" :)

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  • If there is a beta, please let me know. I can brick a phone as easy as the next guy. haha.

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