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ATT expands use of Wi-Fi Calling to international travelers

March 23, 2016

There’s some good news for folks on AT&T who travel abroad. With the latest update to iOS 9.3, MacRumors has discovered that Wi-Fi calling is now available for use to place calls back to the United States from other countries, without incurring any charges. Previously, the feature could only be used within the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

AT&T has begun sending out text messages notifying customers of the change. When traveling abroad, calls placed to or received from the U.S. using Wi-Fi Calling will incur no long distance charges, a definite boon for AT&T customers who are calling home from abroad. Calling an international number from a U.S. phone with Wi-Fi calling will continue to incur AT&T’s standard international call rates.

AT&T has updated its Wi-Fi calling website to reflect the new capabilities:

Use Wi-Fi Calling to talk and text over an active Wi-Fi connection. Wi-Fi Calling lets you talk and text from indoor locations where it’s hard even for a strong cellular signal to reach. Wi-Fi Calling can be used in the Domestic Coverage Area (U.S., Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands) and from most international countries.

- Wi-Fi Calling from AT&T

Wi-Fi calling, and the new international feature, is available on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s Plus, and the new iPhone SE.

At the same time, AT&T has upgraded its NumberSync feature to allow any supported device with a cellular connection to make calls and send messages using their phone number even when the associated iPhone is turned off or otherwise unavailable. Previously, the NumberSync feature would only work over Wi-Fi. With this change, an LTE iPad, for example, can use NumberSync to send text messages or place calls even without a Wi-Fi connection, as long as celullar data is available.

It’s great to see AT&T continue expanding the availability and usefulness of Wi-Fi Calling and NumberSync, and I hope that other carriers follow suit soon.