EE has announced that its Wi-Fi calls and texts feature, which allows customers to route voice calls and SMS through Wi-Fi networks when they have no mobile reception, is now available.
A spokesperson for the company told TNW that testing had been going on for some time, but that the service is now available to people with compatible handsets – two of the first on EE’s network are the Microsoft Lumia 640 (released today) and the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, due for release in three days.
In essence, once you’ve switched the option on in the settings menu, you never really have to think about it again – the phone will simply fall back to it by default whenever there’s no phone signal available, which is particularly helpful in rural areas, or if you’re stood on a platform on the London Underground network.
Right now, there’s no seamless switch over between regular and Wi-Fi calling, but there will be in future, the spokesperson added. This means that if you went from outdoors to indoors and lost reception, you wouldn’t even drop the call. He also said that Wi-Fi calling should make no appreciable difference to a phone’s battery life in comparison to making regular calls.
In our tests, there was no real difference reported in call quality either.
While VoIP services aren’t exactly new, EE’s isn’t like other ‘over the top’ players as you use the regular minutes, text allocation, phone dialler and contact book as you normally would – no additional apps are required.
For anyone that battles little to no reception in their home or office, it’s resoundingly good news – except that you’ll be needing a new phone to make use of the service. Only contract and small business customers get access to the service initially.