FCC Acts to Level Playing Field for Voice over Wi-Fi

After pointing out to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that competitors already were doing so, AT&T asked the Commission to grant a waiver allowing AT&T to offer voice over Wi-Fi services using a new method of handling hearing impaired functions.  

The Commission has approved such a waiver of the rules for AT&T.

In a letter sent to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler on Oct. 1, 2015, AT&T said competitors Sprint and T-Mobile US already were offering a Wi-Fi calling service that doesn’t conform to accessibility rules relates to calls placed by people with hearing problems.

Specifically, the FCC requires all voice calls to support teletypewriter (TTY) functionality, which enables text-based communication over a telephone call.

AT&T Senior Executive Vice President of External and Legislative Affairs James Cicconi wrote to Wheeler that AT&T made the decision not to offer Wi-Fi calling services because of the lack of TTY support.

To do so, the FCC would have to issue a waiver to the requirement.

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