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Can you make calls using Wi-Fi while AT&T is down? What to know amid outage

Thousands of AT&T customers are unsuccessfully searching for a signal across the country amid a nationwide telecommunication outage early Thursday morning.

AT&T acknowledged the issue in a statement to USA TODAY, saying the company is "working urgently" to address the problem, but encouraged users to carry out phone calls via Wi-Fi instead.

AT&T users can make calls via Wi-Fi by activating the Wi-Fi calling function on their devices. When your phone is connected to Wi-Fi with the Wi-Fi calling function on, and a cellular connection is unavailable or poor, you may see a Wi-Fi calling icon in your device's notification bar to indicate that calls will be carried over Wi-Fi, according to AT&T.

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How to turn on Wi-Fi calling on iPhone

iPhone users operating with iOS version 17 can enable Wi-Fi calling by doing the following, according to Apple:

  1. Go to Settings  > Cellular.

  2. If your iPhone has Dual SIM, choose a line (below SIMs).

  3. Tap Wi-Fi Calling, then turn on Wi-Fi Calling on This iPhone.

How to turn on Wi-Fi calling on Android, Samsung Galaxy devices

Android users, including Samsung Galaxy phones, can enable Wi-Fi calling by following these steps, according to Google, which owns Android:

  1. Open the Phone app.

  2. Tap More > Settings.

  3. Tap Calls.

  4. Tap Wi-Fi calling. If you don't see the option, Google says it's because your operator doesn't support the feature.

Once Wi-Fi calling is set up, you can make calls as normal. You'll just see "Internet call" or "Wi-Fi calling" on the notification screen.

Can you text on Wi-Fi calling?

If your carrier supports Wi-Fi calling, you should be able to make voice calls, video calls and text.

How many cellular customers are reporting issues?

Cellular customers began experiencing issues early Thursday morning, but problems began peaking about two hours later with over 30,000 AT&T customers reporting service outages, according to Downdetector.com. As of 7:53 a.m., 73,711 AT&T customers have reported issues, Downdetector said. Cricket customers have reported the second largest amount of outages by 7:53 a.m. with 11,940 reports.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Wi-Fi calling: How to enable function on iPhone amid AT&T outage