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AT&T won’t roll out Wi-Fi calling on the iPhone until next year

Apple made a pretty big deal about WiFi calling at its event this week, but if you preordered an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus running on AT&T today, you won’t be able to use it right out of the box. That feature won’t be available until next year. The carrier’s Ralph de la Vega says the delay is because he wants to make sure that actually using the tech is a good experience for customers and doesn’t result in annoyances like, say, dropped calls when switching from WiFi to mobile data. T-Mobile believes it’s sidestepping that by giving every customer a router that prioritizes voice calls, something that AT&T apparently doesn’t need to do because it doesn’t share the magenta network’s coverage issues.

As Apple’s SVP of Marketing Phil Schiller introduced WiFi Calling support coming with the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and other iPhones with iOS 8 on supported networks earlier this week, it was noted that only T-Mobile and EE will provide support for the new feature at launch. WiFi Calling will allow users to take advantage of home or office WiFi connections, for instance, to improve call quality in otherwise potentially low network zones. Telecommunications site LightReading reports, however, that AT&T plans to add WiFi Calling support for its subscribers beginning next year. “Speaking Friday at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, he said the carrier would use WiFi calling in 2015, but only as a complement to voice-over-LTE and 3G voice. […] “We’re very focused on making sure it’s a great experience for customers, but we see it as a complement, not a replacement,” he said. “We feel good about a great nationwide network with unlimited talk and text.” An AT&T spokesperson shared today, though, that iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus demand has exceeded that of the demand from either the iPhone 5 or iPhone 5s launches from previous year as pre-orders kicked off today.

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