Starting today, T-Mobile customers with a Galaxy Note 5 or Galaxy S6 Edge+ can place video calls right from their phone's dialer. The Uncarrier is introducing T-Mobile Video Calling, a VoLTE-powered feature that is also coming to the Galaxy S6 / S6 Edge next week, and three more unspecified devices by the end of 2015. "There’s no need to search out, download, configure and register additional apps," Neville Ray, T-Mobile's CTO, wrote in a blog post today.
But for this to work, the person you're calling does have to own a device that works with T-Mobile Video Calling. "Small camera icons appear next to contacts with devices able to receive video calls," according to Ray. "If the person you’re calling can’t take video calls, the video call icon is greyed out. We’re working with others so you can eventually enjoy built-in video calling across wireless networks."
By "others," he's likely referring to Verizon, which rolled out its own native video calling a year ago. Several of the major US carriers are aiming to allow HD voice and video calls between networks, but it's impossible to gauge how long it'll be before we get there. Back in July, T-Mobile brought iMessage-like features to regular text messaging for its customers, a feature it calls T-Mobile Advanced Messaging. The new video calling works over both LTE and Wi-Fi (Ray promises seamless handoff between the two) and will automatically switch the chat to a voice call if your signal falls to a slower connection. If you return to LTE coverage, it'll move back to video accordingly.