Verizon is taking steps to enable Wi-Fi voice on its wireless network. The carrier has submitted a petition to the FCC requesting that the regulatory body grant it a waiver identical to the one it gave to AT&T earlier this month for WiFi calling without TTY service.
Enabling Wi-Fi voice calling is problematic for the FCC, because the underlying technology doesn’t reliably support TTY (teletypewriter), a decades-old service used by the hearing impaired. AT&T complained to the FCC last month that competitors T-Mobile and Sprint merely disregarded the rules around TTY support when they launched Wi-Fi calling.
Verizon plans to research and deploy RTT (real-time text) technology, a successor to TTY. However, the company maintains that it’s not ready to roll out the technology across its network just yet. It hopes to do so during the period that its requesting the waiver for—through 2017, or the same length of a waiver that AT&T was granted.
“Verizon plans to meet the same conditions enumerated in the AT&T Waiver Order. Specifically, Verizon agrees to inform its customers through multiple channels that TTY is not supported on these services for calls to 911 and inform customers of alternative means to reach 911 services. Verizon will also inform the Commission and customers of its progress toward the deployment of RTT as described in the AT&T Waiver Order. And Verizon is seeking a waiver for the same duration as that granted to AT&T,” according to Verizon’s petition.
“Because Verizon is seeking a waiver identical to the waiver granted to AT&T and committing to the same conditions that were fully considered by the Commission on a well-developed record, there is no need for the Commission to seek additional public comment here and the Commission should promptly grant this petition.”
If Verizon can get its TTY waiver, then it will be able to support “true” Wi-Fi calling on both iOS and Android devices which would both be able to make calls over Wi-Fi through their native dialers rather than a separate mobile app.