EE says it’s planning to allow UK customers to make voice calls over WiFi connections “with a higher quality and greater degree of reliability than unmanaged VoIP services”. Calls will be available via the standard dialler on the customer’s smartphone, with SMS messaging also available.
The new WiFi calling service is due to launch in autumn 2014 on compatible handsets.
In addition, EE will begin a trial of voice calls over 4G data - Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) - on its 800MHz spectrum later this year. This trial will bring data and voice coverage to part of rural Oxfordshire. A full commercial launch is expected in 2015 when the EE 4G network is able to offer over 90% population coverage.
Fotis Karonis, Chief Technology Officer at EE, said “Our WiFi calling capability will let customers make calls where they have access to WiFi but not to the mobile network. The customer experience is seamless because it’s the same as making a network call and uses the normal call interface of the handset. This is a major part of our strategy to invest in giving customers the ability to make a call wherever they are, and we’re confident that this service can make a big difference to people in homes and large offices across the country, especially in the most rural areas, that don’t have mobile coverage.”