With this is in mind, we want to warn our customers using Android devices there is a potential issue with wireless voice apps that can prevent 911 calls. With some simple steps customers can continue to use the apps while still being able to call for help in an emergency.
We have discovered several VoIP-based apps (such as Skype or Viber) some customers use for voice calls on Android devices are unable to connect a 911 call. It’s important to know, however, that this only applies with calling 911 through one of these apps – regular dialing to 911 on the devices works just fine. When you try to call 911 using one of the VoIP apps the device will try to go back to regular dialing instead. However, if you have the ‘always use’ option switched on, the app dialer will prevent the move to regular dialing and the 911 call will fail.
This issue could affect customers with any wireless service provider, but only those who use one of these VoIP apps with the ‘always use’ option switched on. We are speaking with Google about this, and they tell us they are working with these app developers to fix this issue.
In the meantime, any customers using one of these VoIP apps can take simple steps to protect themselves now. Given the large number of third party VoIP apps available in Google Play and the vast selection of Android devices from numerous manufacturers operating on a range of software versions, we’re erring on the side of caution and recommending customers not make 911 calls using third party VoIP apps on any Android devices.
If you use one of these apps, we strongly recommend you change the default dialer settings to allow 911 calls by following these steps:
- Select Settings (or System Settings) on your phone
- Scroll down to Applications (may be listed as Apps or Application Manager)
- Select the phone dialer application that was set as the default for dialing calls (e.g. Skype or Viber)
- Scroll down to the “Launch by default” section and click on the “Clear defaults” button
Another, likely easier and more sure, option is to use the regular dialing on your phone rather than a VoIP app until Google resolves this issue permanently.
Our product development team continues to investigate this issue. We will continue to update you on any further developments.
For more information visit the following web links: