Affiliate links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.
How to make VoIP and Wi-Fi calls through your Android phone
You might think of your mobile service as the best way to place a call, and usually, you’d be right. However, sometimes you may find yourself in an area with solid Wi-Fi but poor or non-existent cellular coverage. All hope is not lost, because we’re here to show you how to make VoIP and Wi-Fi calls on an Android device.
We’ll walk you through a few of the most popular internet calling methods. Some of them are so easy that you may switch for good, while others take a little more setup. Let’s get to it.
There are multiple ways to make VoIP and Wi-Fi calls. Many carriers support Wi-Fi calling, which you can turn on by going to Settings > Network & internet > SIMs > Wi-Fi calling and toggle on Turn on Wi-Fi calling.
You can also use third-party apps to make VoIP Android calls, such as Google Voice, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Google Duo, and more.
JUMP TO KEY SECTIONS
Editor’s note: These steps were formulated using a Google Pixel 7 running Android 13. Some steps and menus may differ depending on your device, software version, and sometimes the carrier.
What is a VoIP or Wi-Fi call?
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. Put simply, these are calls made over the internet, as opposed to a wired or wireless phone connection. Otherwise, they are pretty much regular calls.
In fact, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls used to be a go-to way to get around the monthly voice limits of phone plans. Now, you can tap into any number of apps to place a call using either mobile data or Wi-Fi, whichever is readily available. At one point, you were pretty much limited to Skype and Google Hangouts to place internet calls, but those days are firmly behind us, not the least because Hangouts is gone.
We have a dedicated guide telling you what VoIP is and how it works, if you want to dig deeper into the subject.
Set up your carrier’s Wi-Fi Android calling feature
Wi-Fi calling started gaining ground in 2014 when AT&T included the feature on the iPhone 6. Since then, the United States’ Big Three carriers have gone all-in on internet calls. You can now find the feature baked into most phones, and even Google Fi Wireless offers Wi-Fi calling with a mix of T-Mobile and US Cellular networks.
Luckily for all of us, activating Wi-Fi calling is usually as easy as heading into your Settings app.
How to turn on Wi-Fi calling:
- Launch the Settings app.
- Go into Network & internet.
- Tap on your main sim under SIMs.
- Select Wi-Fi calling.
- Toggle on Turn on Wi-Fi calling.
Now, regular calls will go through Wi-Fi data when available. Just keep in mind that if you walk out of Wi-Fi range during a call, or Wi-Fi suddenly stops working, your phone may default to using carrier data. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have unlimited data.
Download an app to use VoIP Android calling
If you’re ready to venture outside of your native calling app, you might have noticed that just about everything packs a calling option these days. Whether you’re looking at Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or Google Duo, everyone wants in on the game. All you really have to do is head into your favorite app and look for a classic telephone icon.
One of the biggest things to keep in mind when you call someone from an app is that they will need to use the same service. You can’t place a call in Facebook Messenger and have your friend pick up on Snapchat — VoIP Android calling just doesn’t work that way with most apps.
Traditional VoIP Android apps actually allow you to make regular calls to phone numbers. The most popular services include Google Voice and Skype. These services tend to cost some money, though. Especially if you want to call other countries. Calls within the USA are either free or very cheap.
Take your pick and download the app from the Google Play Store.
Can I still use SIP on Android?
It might be easiest to think of SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) as a subset of VoIP, and in some ways, that’s true. SIP calling relies on a “trunk” as a phone line to connect to your internet service. It’s often used in businesses for the low-cost structure and easy scalability of SIP networks.
Now that you have at least a basic idea of what SIP is, you might be wondering what it takes to get set up. Sadly, Google removed the stock option to add SIP accounts to Android. That said, there are third-party apps that still provide the service. These include Zoiper, Bria, and Linphone. You can download these and others from the Google Play Store.
Google removed the ability to set up SIP accounts with the release of Android 12. This is likely because of its lack of popularity, and there being so many VoIP options out there everyone is using more.
Some VoIP apps provide phone numbers, either free or paid. These include Google Voice and Skype.
Most normal social networks offer VoIP calling for free. That said, this is not the case for every VoIP app out there. Google Voice charges for international calls, for example. Skype also offers packages for advanced features.