Cell C Set to launch commercial Wi-Fi Calling in South Africa

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Riding high on the Wi-Fi capabilities, Cell C is set to launch Wi-Fi Calling services to its entire customer base on 1 October 2015.

“With thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots nationally and millions more internationally, this service will really provide customers with an affordable mobile service anywhere in the world,” says Cell C CEO Jose Dos Santos.

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Cell C Wi-Fi Calling effectively turns any Wi-Fi hotspot into a Cell C base station, providing customers extended coverage, wherever they are, to make calls and send SMSs seamlessly over the Wi-Fi network.

Unlike VoIP services (app to app calling), customers do not have to download an application but simply enable the service via their phone settings on a supported Wi-Fi enabled handset. Both contract and prepaid customers will benefit from this service if they have a Wi-Fi Calling enabled handset, a Cell C USIM and they are connected to a Wi-Fi network/hotspot.

“Whether you are in a basement or find yourself in an area with no cellular coverage, Wi-Fi access will enable you to still receive a full mobile experience, including voice, USSD self service and SMS,” says Dos Santos.

The integrated service means that you can simply use your handset’s regular dialer to make a call and use USSD, or messaging service to send a text message.

International travelers will reap great benefits from this service, as they will be able to use a hotel Wi-Fi or any Wi-Fi hotspot to make calls, at their local Cell C tariff plan rates when dialling anyone in the world on any cellular network. In addition, it will not cost them anything to receive a call. Wi-Fi Calling will mitigate travel-bill shock.

To benefit from Cell C’s Wi-Fi Calling, customers need to ensure that the Wi-Fi Calling icon appears on the top of their phone screen when using the service.

“Cell C has worked with the global telecom solution providers in the world on this project including Atos, Huawei and Lydrasoft, all of which have been working closely with the equipment manufacturers, Cell C will launch with,” says Dos Santos.

Christopher Dulya, SVP Telco Network Products at Atos says: “Wi-Fi Calling is a winner for everybody, and Atos together with Lydrasoft is proud to have developed this solution that consumers will love. We are proud that Cell C is amongst the first operators to have launched this solution on such a wide scale in Africa.”

Brett Cassidy, Vice President of Sales for Lydrasoft says: “We are pleased to have been a part of this record rollout of Wi-Fi Calling in SA. This service is making waves globally and we are proud to be a part of bringing this to South African customers with Cell C.”

During October, this service will be released on the AG Shine, ZTE V6 and ZTE V6 Lite handsets with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge to follow in November.   Two additional devices from Samsung will be Wi-Fi calling capable before year-end with the Huawei P8 Lite expected to be fully Wi-Fi functional during the first quarter of 2016.

“We’re already in talks with the other handset manufacturers, including Blackberry, Sony, Microsoft, LG and Apple about Wi-Fi Calling and the release date of this functionality on their devices. We hope to provide Wi-Fi Calling launch dates on these devices in the coming months,” says Dos Santos.


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