Verizon asks FCC for waiver to enable Wi-Fi calling features

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Verizon has submitted a petition to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, asking for a waiver that would allow it to enable Wi-Fi calling on its network.

In its filing, the carrier made explicit reference to a recent waiver granted to AT&T, which allowed the latter to turn on Wi-Fi calling despite the technology not properly supporting TTY for the hearing impaired. A standard called RTT will eventually replace TTY, but isn't ready to be deployed.

When the FCC approved AT&T's petition, it invited "requests from similarly situated providers seeking a similar waiver of the TTY requirements." Verizon suggsted that regulations should allow both it and AT&T to skip waivers, but that it submitted a petition regardless, "out of an abundance of caution."

T-Mobile and Sprint have had Wi-Fi calling options for some time, which generated AT&T complaints that the FCC was being unequal in its enforcement.

If accepted, Verizon's request should allow users of iOS 9, Android, and other platforms to take advantage of integrated Wi-Fi calling features. Technically Verizon offers a form of Wi-Fi calling through a custom app, but integrated support allows automatic switching between Wi-Fi and cellular networks.