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Cell phone WiFi calling and texting?


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I purchased the Voom Surf and Stream for one device and understand that I should turn my phone to Airplane mode to avoid cellular roaming charges, so how do I go about activating WiFi enabled calls/texts?  I plan to mostly use Facebook Messenger to contact my hubby and kids back home, but my twins (who have autism) have a large staff of caregivers that I may need to contact via text.  I have Verizon as a carrier and an iPhone 7.

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For any of the caregivers that don't have an apple device, it may pay to ask them in advance what they would prefer to use. WhatsApp is a good option, as you only need a phone number to use it, and it still uses wifi to function, meaning no pesky roaming fees. Also means that there's no need to worry about adding usernames or becoming "friends" as if you already have their mobile phone number, it will all sync well.

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1 hour ago, Amygs1 said:

Thanks for the advice!  Not everyone in my sons’ caregiver circle (including my husband) has an iPhone, so wanted to make sure I could utilize WiFi calling/texting if necessary for those Androids in our family of folks!

 

SETTINGS ….. CELLULAR ….. Wi-Fi CALLING ...... green on this next screen means on ......... you can actually leave WiFi calling on all the time ...... when you’re at home it just makes your phone calls clearer using your home WiFi if you’re getting a bad cellular signal in the house 

You do still need to have your phone in Airplane Mode while on the ship to keep from being charged roaming on the phone calls 

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Please note that iphone WiFi calling only ASSIST regular calling/texting service when cell signal is weak and WILL NOT be available with your iphone in airplane mode. IT WILL BE VERY EXPENSIVE.

You have to communicate with non iphone users with other application you both share (Facebook messenger, What's up, skype, hangouts, etc). Optionally you can use (purchase some time- very affordable ) VOIP app (ex: MobileVOIP). Whatever you do, DO NOT remove airplane mode unless it's a real emergency. It will cost you an arm and a leg.

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16 minutes ago, Cez said:

Please note that iphone WiFi calling only ASSIST regular calling/texting service when cell signal is weak and WILL NOT be available with your iphone in airplane mode. IT WILL BE VERY EXPENSIVE.

Not true.  An iPhone will route all calls and SMS texting entirely over a wifi network if the plan and phone company support it.  Access to a cellular signal is not needed.  It is strongly recommended putting a phone in airplane mode, and then enabling wi-fi so that the cellular radios are turned off and there's no chance of accidentally connecting to the ship's very expensive cell tower.

The recipient does not need to have an iPhone or use a different app, as these will go through as regular calls and texts.

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38 minutes ago, Orange Crush said:

Not true.  An iPhone will route all calls and SMS texting entirely over a wifi network if the plan and phone company support it.  Access to a cellular signal is not needed.  It is strongly recommended putting a phone in airplane mode, and then enabling wi-fi so that the cellular radios are turned off and there's no chance of accidentally connecting to the ship's very expensive cell tower.

The recipient does not need to have an iPhone or use a different app, as these will go through as regular calls and texts.

I've investigated that feature in depth before my cruise in January. Plan has nothing to do with it, only hardware (phone) and carrier support for this technology. I spent some time with my carrier support stuff to make sure that I don't have surprised at the end of the cruise. MAYBE other carriers treat it differently but what I said earlier applies to Rogers/Fido network. I would strongly suggest to call your carrier to validate @Orange Crush statement. When asking please mention that you'll be on the cruise ship !

EDIT: SORRY. After additional reading it seems that AT&T and Verizon might work for free from international destinations to US numbers. Based on my experience, for an additional peace of mind I would still call them to make sure it will be OK from cruise ship.

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Orange Crush is correct, we do this on EVERY cruise. Phone is always in airplane mode onboard the ship. Only time we take the phone off airplane mode is in a US port, USVI, San Juan, where AT&T is accessible. 

The caveat we found was .....on an iPhone, you have to select and set up wifi calling BEFORE putting into airplane mode. We leave WIFI calling on ALL the time, home or away. We tried showing some fellow cruisers how to do this several times, problem is if they switch off airplane mode to enable wifi , phone will incur large charges out in mid Atlantic ocean.

We found other carriers had wifi calling also. I don't doubt there are those carriers who don't support wifi calling.

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For US cell carriers they do not care what your location is to use WiFi calling.  A hotel in Barcelona, a cafe in Paris, a ship with Voom.  WiFi calling essentially makes the internet a cell tower in your home area rate plan.

Rogers/Fido - I have some experience with them from family and they suck.  Sorry, but compared to other carriers in the world they charge for things even when you purchase a monthly US roaming plan that includes data they still charge for using that data at exorbitant rates.  I have family that left them for Bell due to their sleazy tactics.  So it would not surprise me at all for Rogers to charge for WiFi calling based on where your phone's location reports that it is at any given moment.  

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Instead of turning on airplane mode on iPhone, couldn’t a user just turn off cellular? We’ve done this on previous cruises and then connected to ship’s WiFi and weren’t charged roaming fees. Perhaps either option would work, but I don’t know that advantage of one method over the other so if anybody can help explain, I’d be grateful. Thanks!

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On 9/8/2019 at 4:05 PM, Amygs1 said:

I purchased the Voom Surf and Stream for one device and understand that I should turn my phone to Airplane mode to avoid cellular roaming charges, so how do I go about activating WiFi enabled calls/texts?  I plan to mostly use Facebook Messenger to contact my hubby and kids back home, but my twins (who have autism) have a large staff of caregivers that I may need to contact via text.  I have Verizon as a carrier and an iPhone 7.

I know a lot have suggested the wifi calling through the phone with airplane mode on.

I wanted to throw a couple of suggestions to what I do when I travel with only WiFi.

Try out WhatsApp and/or WeChat which are both free to set up and you can video call, phone call, text message, location pinging/tracking , and even live stream if the internet can handle it.

Both relies on Wifi and no cellular data is required.

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39 minutes ago, TJ! said:

I know a lot have suggested the wifi calling through the phone with airplane mode on.

I wanted to throw a couple of suggestions to what I do when I travel with only WiFi.

Try out WhatsApp and/or WeChat which are both free to set up and you can video call, phone call, text message, location pinging/tracking , and even live stream if the internet can handle it.

Both relies on Wifi and no cellular data is required.

Hello everyone, just thought I'd add that I tried the WhatsApp to text a tour operator in San Juan from Canada and it worked.  I was a bit apprehensive, but I made sure I was in airplane mode with WiFi on.  

I am curious though, when I'm in port and need to get a hold of the tour operator and there is no WiFi available, then I'm not sure how I could contact them.  Same with when we're in Orlando and may need to contact the shuttle service.  I don't think everyone has the WhatsApp?

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2 minutes ago, raahc said:

Hello everyone, just thought I'd add that I tried the WhatsApp to text a tour operator in San Juan from Canada and it worked.  I was a bit apprehensive, but I made sure I was in airplane mode with WiFi on.  

I am curious though, when I'm in port and need to get a hold of the tour operator and there is no WiFi available, then I'm not sure how I could contact them.  Same with when we're in Orlando and may need to contact the shuttle service.  I don't think everyone has the WhatsApp?

WhatsApp is a bit more casual and simple BUT WeChat there is an option for contacting non WeChat user which helps immensely for people who do not want to download or have the app.

 

WeChat extremely similar to WhatsApp provides a lot more features like pre-paying for "international data or something which allows you to use cellular data without having a plan" I've put $10 usd prepaid and it last me my entire vacation when I was in Canada for 5 days.

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3 minutes ago, raahc said:

Hello everyone, just thought I'd add that I tried the WhatsApp to text a tour operator in San Juan from Canada and it worked.  I was a bit apprehensive, but I made sure I was in airplane mode with WiFi on.  

I am curious though, when I'm in port and need to get a hold of the tour operator and there is no WiFi available, then I'm not sure how I could contact them.  Same with when we're in Orlando and may need to contact the shuttle service.  I don't think everyone has the WhatsApp?

You will need to find Wifi and just use the Wifi calling feature.  Otherwise check with your cell phone carrier and see if they have a way to add US coverage onto your plan for the month that you are cruising.  Some carriers in the US have this for as cheap as $10 a month.  My US carrier (Sprint) even has limited coverage in most of the islands that a Caribbean cruise visits and it's included with my plan, just need to activate it.

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1 hour ago, fonemanbob said:

AT&T has a $10.00 a day plan when you are in a foreign country.  We are going to New England and Canada Thursday and signed up for that plan.  We are grandfathered under their old plan. Their   newer plans cover Mexico and Canada.  

Just a quick note about this $10/day plan. Most people who have older AT&T plans can use this, but if you have a really old grandfathered plan, you might not be eligible. I found that out the hard way when I tried to get that set up for a trip we were taking and found out that we could only use the $60 for 30 days international plan. My family has a super old grandfathered plan that has unthrottled unlimited data. 

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12 hours ago, Yo2slick said:

We left our phones in airplane mode and never enabled WiFi calling.  Instead we called through Snapchat and messaged through FB messenger.  

Then how exactly is your message being sent? If over wifi, aren't you making a wifi transmission and reception? Why not just text and you don't need any app?

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On 9/11/2019 at 4:03 AM, L454S said:

Then how exactly is your message being sent? If over wifi, aren't you making a wifi transmission and reception? Why not just text and you don't need any app?

Wifi and wifi calling are different.  We enabled WiFi and just used the apps.  No danger of the phone coming out of airplane mode or any hidden charges.  I dont believe regular texting works over WiFi.

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