Verizon Wi-Fi calling, which starts Dec. 8, lets users make voice calls over Wi-Fi networks in places where regular cellular coverage is spotty, such as in homes or in basements but also in areas served by public hot spots. The phones will also hand off a call from the cellular network to a Wi-Fi network, and domestic voice minutes used over Wi-Fi won’t count against a user’s voice bucket.
Additional Verizon phones, including iPhones, will get Wi-Fi calling in 2016, Verizon said.
Wi-Fi calling must be used with phones offering Verizon’s LTE Advanced Calling services, which include HD Voice, which is available on 28 smartphones, and Video Calling, available on 21 smartphones.
U.S. subscribers placing call to U.S. numbers over Wi-Fi won’t be billed for the call, but calls to international numbers will be billed at regular rates, the carrier said.
AT&T rolled out Wi-Fi calling in October for the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 6 and 6 Plus. Sprint rolled out Wi-Fi calling to select phones in 2014, when T-Mobile widened availability to more phones.
Some MVNOs also offer Wi-Fi calling service in which phones default first to a Wi-Fi network before handing off to a cellular network. Those MVNOs are TextNow Wireless, Republic Wireless, Scratch Wireless, and Google with its Google Project Fi network, accessible through Google’s Nexus 6P , 5X and 6.