AT&T has held off on flipping the switch for Wi-Fi calling because it never got the green light from the FCC; the carrier even went on to attack its competitors for offering the option without permission. Luckily, it sounds like the non-issue is getting a happy ending, as the carrier has been granted a waiver by the FCC to offer Wi-Fi calling.
AT&T decided not to enable Wi-Fi calling when iOS 9 launched because the method doesn’t support teletype services (TTY) for the deaf and hard of hearing. As a compromise, the waiver delays the implementation of the TTY service until the end of next year; in its place, AT&T will use a newer form of communication, real-time text (RTT).
Below is AT&T’s full statement on the waiver granted by the FCC:
We’re grateful the FCC has granted AT&T’s waiver request so we can begin providing Wi-Fi calling. At the same time we are left scratching our heads as to why the FCC still seems intent on excusing the behavior of T-Mobile and Sprint, who have been offering these services without a waiver for quite some time. Instead of initiating enforcement action against them, or at least opening an investigation, the agency has effectively invited them to now apply for similar waivers and implied that their prior flaunting of FCC rules will be ignored. This is exactly what we meant when our letter spoke of concerns about asymmetric regulation.
AT&T didn’t say when Wi-Fi calling will go live, but if the necessary waivers have been cleared, it’s only a matter of time.