International Calls from US over WiFi

  • 17 November 2014
  • 56 replies



I have Simple Choice Plan with Stateside International Services with unlimited calling to 70+ countries and 30+ countries mobile. I have been using this service for more than 6 months and never been charged for my international calls to India. Recently (11/09) onward, I have been charged for my calls to India. I called to Support center and I was being told that the International calls I make over WiFi are charged as per international calling rates. What is the use of WiFi Calling then, if I cannot make international calls as per my plan? Why T-Mobile is not able to differentiate between WiFi calls from US and those from Outside US?





Best answer by tmo_amanda 15 January 2015, 20:44

Hey @itslokesh‌, @mcohen8‌ and others experiencing this,

Just wanted to give an official update that we have identified this as a known issue with iOS 8 and it should be squared away by March. If you're connected to WiFi for an extended period, the iPhone doesn't know where you're at (domestic or international). We want to be transparent as possible. If you're impacted, you shouldn't be financially impacted by this bug. Until resolved, we'll continue crediting the $0.20 per minute you were charged while connected to WiFi.

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56 replies

Wi-Fi calling is still using T-Mobile's network no different than if were using cellular it is just getting onto their network via the internet rather than a cell tower which in reality just converts a radio signal and then moves it over data lines.

Wi-Fi calling made from international locations to a US number or from a US number to the cell on Wi-Fi is using the US phone exchange system that routes calls between carriers, land lines and etc.  So if you make a call internationally from a US cell number to a land line or cell in the US since it is over the internet all the "switching" is done in the US phone system so "no charge".  If you use Wi-Fi calling and call a foreign country that country will charge to "switch" the call and pass that charge back to the carrier/country that initiated the call no different than if you called from a land line.

Thanks for the response. I am very much in US and I have been charged $30 for making international calls to India from date 11/09 onwards, though I have unlimited talk and text with stateside international services. Even I have been charged $20 for current billing month, but that cannot be reported until my bill for this month is being generated.


+1 (480) 438-6776

Sent from my iPhone

What I mentioned though is calling to a US number from international or calling to a T-Mobile phone on Wi-Fi that is international since they are both US phone numbers.  If one is international then the Wi-Fi calling will be no different than if on cellular, for it to be "free" it has to be a US phone number on both ends for the free international Wi-Fi calling.

I got your point. In case US to US calling, it's free both ways if you have appropriate plan, else u may be charged.

I have unlimited international calling plan in addition. Now with this plan, I have never been charged for international calls. From 11/09, though I'm not charged for any calls made using cellular service, but I am charged for international calls made over WiFi. So it means WiFi calling is different from cellular and I should never use it for international calls even though I am in US. Then what is the use of having WiFi calling if I cannot use it.


+1 (480) 438-6776

Sent from my iPhone

   In fact, when overseas, wifi calling for the most of us that don't have an intl. calling package like you do - can only call U.S. numbers for free.  That's because wifi calling is billed as tho you are physically in the U.S.   IF I were in France and called across the street to a friend's French cell phone via connection to cell tower 20¢/min.  If via wifi, several times more because I would be billed as tho I were physically in the U.S.

This system is no longer allowing coherent posts to be posted.

Will try again:

I agree with the OP.  When IN the U.S., you should be billed exactly the same whether the call is made over cell tower or via wifi.  Both are routed via the TM system.

  I would definitely complain loudly   if they don't waive those charges.  TM, for years, has promoted the  wifi calling feature as a substitute for calling when you can't connect to a cell tower.

From what I've read, I'm with Mike on this. It should not matter if you are calling via WiFi Calling or cellular, at least not when you are in the USA.

Thanks miket and drnewcomb2. I called the support center and they have reverted the charges. But I have also been suggested that NOT TO MAKE any international call using WiFi calling facility, as that is being charged. I have started this thread so that TM should come up with clear statement on International calls using WiFi calling feature, as NO where on there site it is being stated that International calls using WiFi calling from US are CHARGED, but same calls over cellular network are NOT CHARGED.

There is obviously some glitch in their system that needs repair.   Wifi calls show up itemized on your bill along with calls via cell tower.  Only diff. on bill is the letter code next to the item.  (Diff. codes for "TM to TM" calls,  Calls via Cell tower, Calls via wifi, calls to 611, etc.)  I forget the exact code designations at this moment. 

  The time "stamp" for wifi calls is not accurate, as I recall.  Think they are all time stamped Pacific time zone.

I see no response to this thread. The same happened to me. I have activated stateside international with mobile. While being on WIFI I am charged 0.20c per minute. While not on WIFI, international calls were not charged. In both cases I was calling one of the countries on the list of free countries. I know this should not really matter, but I was on WIFI in the US.

I called T-mobile support and they reversed the charges and was also told not to make international calls while on Wifi, which does not make any sense to me. I asked T-mobile on Facebook. Ill see what they have to say there...

There are a minority of us that don't do FB.  If you get an answer, would appreciate a followup here.

One of my friend also has the same plan, but he is not being charged for making International WiFi calls. Why T-Mobile is doing this discrimination in service charges? Only difference in the plan section of my T-Mobile is, I have a service "Intl Access WiFi Toll" service, which was added on 11/09/2014, I don't know who added that and why it was added? Also there is a pending change to my services "Removed: Intl Access WiFi Toll" as of 07/09/2017. Seriously, first a service has been added with no prior notification and this is supposed to be removed in 2017, but showing as pending in 2014. What is going on here? Can someone take responsibility and explain? T-Mobile?

Same with me. T-mobile has no idea what that service is and they are reluctant to take it off.

I just talked to a Tmobile representative. I was told NOT to make int phone calls on WIFI, which does not really make sense. At home I have no bars so I basically depend on wifi. What was the point of going so big about wifi calling when it actually does not work?

Terms and conditions for the State side international service does NOT say one should not make phone calls on WIFI.

And apparently "int access wifi toll" goes hand in hand with Stateside international, even though my "int access wifi toll" had been activated weeks before I even thought of activating Stateside international.

I am very disappointed in T-mobile support as for now since they are just GUESSING... I will probably just deactivate the service and find something else. 

This is absurd. T-Mobile can't possibly have intended for Wi-Fi calls originating in the U.S. to be billed differently than cell tower calls originating in the U.S.

It just doesn't make any sense.

WiFi to international calls should be billed exactly the same as cellular to international calls.
At least that is the way it has always been for me.

Would be really helpful if T-Force would weigh in.

Anyone else (with stateside international) notice charges for Int'l calls on wi-fi? Or better yet, anyone NOT getting charged for Int'l calls on wi-fi?

Can we isolate the "Int access wifi toll" service as the culprit?

yup same boat as you guys. Added the international plan back in September, no issues until last month. All of a sudden had $88 in charges, got look at bill details noticed all wi fi calls made to an international numbers were charged all of a sudden, Never got charged before. Called in spoke to rep, rep was surprised. Said issue was on their end. Credited the charges Again last night new bill, this time $105 of charges again wi fi calls. Just spent an hour with tmobile support. this time they refuse to remove charges. Say they will only remove half the charge. Told me wi fi calls to international numbers have always been charged. Asked why i wasnt charged in the past? They could not explain it. Ask them why is not stated on the website that wi fi calls are charged, they could not give me an answer. Asked them then why when i called last month and brought it up why didnt the rep mention it? Again they couldnt answer me. Asked why if that was the case then why did they credit the charges last month,they told me they shouldnt have that it was a mistake that it was an act of kindness. An hour on the phone and they never resolved my issue or answer any of my questions, was told i would get a call back. Still nothing. Told them if i didnt get the $105 charge removed that I will cancel my account

Userlevel 5

As others have accurately stated, calling via wifi vs. calling via a cell site makes no difference whatsoever regardless of the origin and destination of the call as far as billing is concerned. All wifi calling does is provide an alternate way to connect to the T-Mobile network. It is not intended to eliminate or reduce international calling rates.

As to why some people were not billed for international calls in the past, who knows? There are 3 main aspects to how connections and calls are made on a cellular network - authentication, authorization, and accounting (AAA). Of those, accounting (billing) is the most difficult & complicated aspect. Thus, it's quite possible that prior international calls made via a wifi connection slipped through the cracks, and this billing loophole was subsequently closed.

Moving forward, take wifi calling completely out of the equation regarding billing related questions and issues. Quite simply, a call is a call. If you want to save money when contacting others internationally, I'd suggest looking into voice/video over IP services such as Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and so forth (which are often free, depending on how the call is routed).


You are right about calling via WiFi vs calling via Cell tower. There should not be any difference in call charges. Both must be charged same way.

As far as international calling is concerned, T-Mobile offers international stateside call plan, which includes unlimited calling to certain international countries. International calls with this plan are not being charged if made over cellular network, but those are charged over WiFi. Ideally WiFi calling is alternate to cellular calling and must be charged same way as cellular calling. This thread is to highlight this discrepancy in WiFi calling and Cellular calling and T-Mobile must address this.

But that's the thing,I do have the international plan and last month started charging me for calls I made over Wi-Fi. And considering I can't make any phone calls from my house unless it's over a Wi-Fi connection I have no option but to make Wi-Fi calls. I checked again no where on t-mobile site does it say that calls made over Wi-Fi on the international plan are charged separately

T-Mobile Support has taken the position (via Twitter) that wi-fi calls "do not originate on T-Mobile's U.S. network", and thus do not qualify for Stateside International Talk rates. This is borderline-deceptive....

mcohen8 wrote:

T-Mobile Support has taken the position (via Twitter) that wi-fi calls "do not originate on T-Mobile's U.S. network", and thus do not qualify for Stateside International Talk rates. This is borderline-deceptive....

    Thanks for the post.  I am certain, that over the years, TM took the position that they originate in the U.S.  I never have made direct calls to intl. destinations (that I recall) when on wifi.  What I did do, on occasion, was use Google Voice.  You are dialing a U.S. number to access GV and then the call is sent out from there.

   QUESTION; IF you are on wifi in the U.S., do you still get the intl. plan rates?  Could you use a U.S. VPN so it would appears to TM you are on a U.S. server? 

     IF they do not cover wifi calls made from your basement while in the U.S., they need to start putting disclaimers in all the ads they are now running touting wifii calling.