So I’m here at this Destin-area Hampton Inn & Suites and the Wi-Fi sucks. So much for the royal treatment of a Hilton Honors Diamond member. Before I got set to use the mobile hotspot on my Samsung Galaxy Note 3—which I’m using to post this—I checked out my current data usage and I was surprised to see that I have 20 GB of high-speed data in my Data Stash. I guess using that Wi-Fi calling has come up big for me. That brings me to this week’s moment in the Flashback Friday series: T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling.
How I first came across this moment? I first came across T-Mobile’s Wi-Fi Calling feature when I journeyed to Japan late in the Summer of 2011. After laboring through the Long Hot Summer of 2011, I decided to switch things up by not only getting a new phone number…but getting a new phone as well. I ended up getting the HTC Sensation. It was my first foray, so to speak, into the smartphone world. I copped the new phone only a couple of days before I left Maryland for a month in my old stomping grounds across the Pacific. While reading the instruction book on the flight over—yes, I actually read the instruction book for every new electronic device I acquire—I noticed a feature called Wi-Fi Calling. According to T-Mobile, it allowed me to make and receive calls, access unlimited high-speed data, and send and receive messages over a wireless Internet connection. In other words, I could talk, text, and use the Internet without taking a data hit. Once I landed in Tokyo and got settled at Mama Sanders’ place, I called T-Mobile’s customer service line to inquire. That’s when I found out it was free. Man, I was cooking with grease from there.
What it meant to me then? In the moment, the Wi-Fi Calling was a landmark benefit for me. Unlike any other time I was abroad, I was actually very much connected to the United States. That was important to me as I didn’t have to rent or purchase a phone in a host nation. It really came into play during my year in South Korea. I texted my mom, dad, sister, friends—even a woman I was dating before I left—without any issues. For a while, people thought I wasn’t really in Korea because I could actually talk on the phone in real-time without using a pay phone or a collect call system.
What it means to me now? Today, I still use the Wi-Fi Calling feature. It has much improved from where it was in 2012…new colors, new logo design. It has saved me a lot of money on high-speed data as I’m able to enjoy video conferences on Skype and Google+ Hangouts. The Wi-Fi Calling feature, along with a few other things, is why I’m committed to T-Mobile. I doubt I’ll get a feature like Wi-Fi Calling anywhere else anytime soon.