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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 no 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.
See also: The best free calls apps for Android
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.
What is a VoIP or Wi-Fi call?
Internet-based calls are just like normal calls in that you can speak to and hear someone over the phone. However, they ditch your carrier’s network of towers in favor of the internet. In fact, VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls used to be a go-to way to get around the monthly talk limits of your phone plan.
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 Hangouts to place internet calls, but those data are firmly behind us. Now, let’s get into how you can use VoIP and internet calling of your own.
Set up your carrier’s Wi-Fi Android calling feature
Wi-Fi calling first started to gain 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 offers Wi-Fi calling with a mix of T-Mobile’s and US Cellular’s networks.
Luckily for all of us, activating Wi-Fi calling is as easy as heading into your dialer app. It’s so easy that Google has even written its own short guide. Once you enter your dialer app, follow these steps:
- Tap the More button accompanied by the three dots icon.
- Open the Settings menu and enter the Calls section (the exact name may vary based on your device).
- Locate the Wi-Fi calling option and toggle it to On.
You may have to confirm your decision further before jumping into Android Wi-Fi calls. If Wi-Fi is unavailable, your phone may default to using carrier data. This shouldn’t be a problem if you have unlimited access, but you may want to set your roaming preference to use cellular service.
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.
If you’re looking for a classic VoIP calling app, look no further than Skype. It’s older than all of the apps mentioned above, and you can download it for Mac, PC, and mobile devices.
See also: The best VoIP and SIP apps for Android
Set up a SIP account
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. Google actually covers the SIP process in the same tutorial we linked above. Just head to your calling app and follow these steps:
- Tap the More button in the top right corner.
- Open the Settings menu and enter the Calls section.
- Select Calling accounts, then SIP accounts.
- Tap Create (next to the + icon).
- Enter your username, password, and server ID.
- Press Save.
That’s really all there is to it. It’s a little more involved than VoIP calling or using Wi-Fi because you have to have an account, but it’s just as reliable. Now you have quite a few ways to tap into VoIP and Wi-Fi calls on Android, so you should never have to worry about service again.