WiFi Calling by EE initially available on Lumia 640, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge with iPhone 6 expected later this month
EE is to launch a standalone WiFi calling service and said the service will be available to more than five million pay monthly subscribers by summer.
A recent survey by the UK’s biggest operator with 28 million connections found that more than four million people lose their network connection in at least one room in their house.
The new service is the first that does not need an app to work and will allow people to use their WiFi connection to make calls and send texts, but will only work on the Microsoft Lumia 640, Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge (which will be released on Friday) initially.
Mobile News understands that WiFi Calling will also be available on the iPhone 6 with the iOS 8.3 update, with EE sources revealing it will launch the service on Apple devices this month
WiFi Calling from EE will use a phone’s standard dialler and contacts book to make calls using a home or office WiFi connection, meaning it doesn’t require an app like over-the-top services such as Viber or Three’s inTouch app, which was launched last year.
EE CEO Olaf Swantee 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.”
An ICM poll of 2,000 people carried out on behalf in March on behalf of EE found that almost one in ten people have a room at home where they have no mobile connectivity, with this increasing to 15 per cent in rural and semi-rural areas.
As well as helping people across the UK in homes and small/home offices, WiFi Calling can also change the value of your home, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA)
NAEA president Simon Gerrard said: “Mobile coverage is becoming increasingly important to people when they’re buying a house – innovations like this can help sellers ensure they are maximising the value of their home and are not losing out due to poor mobile coverage.”