Looking over the Q&A’s and doing some digging, it looks like the closest equivalent to Republic’s current/discontinued WiFi calling handover is VoLTE calling. The technical bits are different, but the results should be about the same: Calls will hop on and off WiFi as it’s available without dropping.
It appears that most phones made in the last few years support this feature. Whether it’s available or not depends on your location and your phone. Location isn’t really something you can do much about, but since it rolled out in 2015, I’m assuming it’s available in most locations by now.
However, the service provider determines whether or not that feature is available. Historically, AT&T has limited VoLTE calling to phones that had annual contracts directly through them. Prepaid phones and MVNOs were locked out of VoLTE calls.
It would be pretty ironic for Republic, who did a lot of the legwork in developing an actual, functional version of WiFi calling, to be locked out of the very feature they helped create.
So, to the original question, will 5.0 plans support VoLTE calls?
WiFi calling, yes. But I haven’t seen anything to say if they will support VoLTE calling, which is what would be required for handoffs between WiFi and cellular calling without the call dropping, as is possible under the older plans.
Not exactly, VoLTE refers to Voice (calling) over LTE cellular. That said, unlike 10 years ago when Republic was the pioneer, there is industry standard IMS based WiFi calling.
You are correct, the intended design is for calls to hand off back and forth between VoWiFi (WiFi calling) and VoLTE (Voice over LTE).
Yes, most reasonably recent phones support both WiFi calling and VoLTE.
In terms of location, there must be 4G LTE cellular coverage available. There can be no VoLTE without LTE. As they are intending to shut down 3G and 2G networks at various times next year, the major carriers have made 4G LTE coverage available in most parts of the country.
Note, the previous paragraph refers to VoLTE. Industry standard WiFi calling can and does work in areas of no cell signal at all. Just as with Republic’s proprietary approach, in those areas, there would be no hand off.
This is a vitally important consideration. Historically, AT&T has indeed restricted WiFi calling and VoLTE to phones activated on AT&T postpaid plans. WiFi calling and VoLTE were made available to AT&T’s Prepaid customers and Cricket Wireless (AT&T owned) circa 2019 if I remember correctly. VoLTE has since been made widely available to handsets on AT&T’s network (inclusive of MVNOs). A potential issue for some currently Republic My Choice phones is AT&T also has a history of restricting WiFi calling (not so much VoLTE) to handsets intended specifically for use on AT&T’s network. AT&T has not always made WiFi calling available to factory unlocked phones.
In a word, yes.
This answers the question as to whether the plans support WiFi calling. It doesn’t necessarily answer the question as to which current My Choice compatible phones will be supported for WiFi calling on AT&T’s network. Work is being done to answer that question more definitively.
Meanwhile, phones listed as certified for BYOP will, according to AT&T, work for both WiFi calling and VoLTE on 5.0 plans:
If like me WiFi calling is a critical feature for you, I would suggest waiting for further clarity from Republic on the matter. Absent a lost/stolen/broken phone, no member needs to move to 5.0 now.
Thank you for the in-depth answer. I hadn’t even considered that in 2022 (essentially) phone carriers would still be locking people out for WiFi calling. Like you mentioned, it’s been an industry standard for at least 5 or 6 years now.
This would be a critical consideration for me, as a combination of not great cell service and an old house with solid walls that kills WiFi signals, means almost every call I make from home hops back and forth between cell and WiFi several times during the duration, as one signal drops out or comes back.
I was considering switching over to the new plans as the difference per month for our two phones is nominal compared to the effort of watching our data like hawks. But if that would entail purchasing two new phones for several hundred dollars a piece to keep the functionality we currently have, the value proposition pretty much goes out the window.
I guess I’ll keep an eye for for when the list of 4.0 to 5.0 compatible phones comes out and go from there.
It may very well turn out what AT&T has told Republic is exactly correct. Given AT&T’s history, I believe it’s best to trust but verify. I’m confident Republic will have more information to share with us. Meanwhile, like you, I’m waiting before considering moving to 5.0.
After some digging last night, at least as of 12~ish months ago, AT&T was locking pretty much every unlocked phone (which would be every previous Republic Wireless phone), and mine in particular, out of WiFi calling. Given the history of Republic Wireless, I would think having this feature unlocked for their existing customers who want to upgrade to the new plans would be be a priority when they did the service agreement, so I’m not taking anything as gospel until the compatibility list comes out.
It looks like there’s a few phones that crossed over from the 4.0 to the 5.0 plans that are listed as fully compatible which had previously been locked out by AT&T, but that list is pretty short and doesn’t include my phone, the moto x4. Though given there’s a few phones on the list that also released in 2017, maybe there’s hope for me yet.
Edit: For clarity, not disagreeing with anything you posted, just adding a little more background info for anyone that comes across this in the future.