Making calls whilst in the middle of town is usually fine. When us start to head to the rural areas, however, it can start to get tricky. When you get to the wilds of the Yorkshire Moors, Lincolnshire folds or Scottish Highlands, then you start doing the No-Signal Dance. We’ve all done it, raising out phone above our heads in the hope that extra few feet gives us a bar of signal. Soon, this will be a thing of the past, when you will be able to make calls over WiFi on EE or Three UK.
Calls over WiFi on EE:
When we say calls over WiFi, we don’t mean VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol, or Skype to the non-initiated), we literally mean making a call using your WiFi signal instead of a mobile signal. Some Networks in America allow this already if you buy a mobile signal router which only allows you to make calls. EE claim they will allow you to make calls using your WiFi signal without any set up from the user. EE would push a firmware update to phones on their network and they will be able to make the calls over WiFi.
Unlike the instances mentioned above, you won’t need to get a special box, or a special deal with your broadband provider, in fact you’ll even be able to make the calls on a public WiFi hotspot. Even better, the technology that EE are using – called IP Multimedia Subsystem or IMS – is completely secure, so no one can eavesdrop on your call. IMS simply passes the handling of the calls to the WiFi areal rather than the Mobile areal and your minutes and texts are deducted accordingly.
Not only does this mean you’ll always be able to make calls when near a WiFi hotspot without any Mobile coverage, but also means you could save battery as well. Apps will be able to see that when you connect to WiFi, it can turn off your mobile data, and vice-versa when you leave the hotspot. Even a simple IFTTT recipe would do.
Further to this, EE announced they would expand the coverage of 4G Voice (or VoLTE) to rural areas which hadn’t been covered before, meaning clearer calls for more people.
Calls over WiFi with Three UK:
Three UK have also announced they will launch a service called Three InTouch in “early August”, which will replicate the EE usability, however they will require you to use an app to enable the calls to be made. This is a two-edged sword, as it would be faster than waiting for your network to push an update for your phone, but also means some complicated set up to get the service working.