EE has beaten Vodafone to the punch by becoming the first primary Mobile Network Operator in the United Kingdom to launch a practically seamless WiFi calling service, which means that customers who can’t get a good cell signal can still make calls.. so long as there’s a usable WiFi network nearby.
The operator claims that a quarter of people in the UK work from home at least one day per week and apparently 20% of those lose mobile reception during the day, hence the need for EE’s new service.
The new service is designed to integrate as closely as possible with the device, which means that it uses the phone’s normal dialler and contact book to make calls, and the normal text button to send text messages (i.e. no special separate app or closed contact group required).
Olaf Swantee, CEO of EE, said:
“Losing coverage at home is a major frustration, and WiFi Calling will make a real difference to millions of customers across the UK, from basement flats in London to the most rural homes in the country. Our customers want to be able to call and text no matter where they are, and they don’t want to have to think about which app they need to use or if their friends have a particular third party service.”
Apparently the new service will, from 10th April, be available to owners of the Lumia 640, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. Many more new and existing devices will be added to the list of supported hardware over the coming weeks and months.
Meanwhile Vodafone plans to launch a rival service this summer and EE seems to have forgotten Three UK’s similar inTouch service, although it’s not as seamless as EE’s solution. O2’s TU GO is also very similar. Essentially the core idea is nothing new.