EE has launched the UK’s first wi-fi calling service.
The service allows mobile users to make calls as normal using a wi-fi service when normal connectivity is unavailable. The phone’s normal dialler and contacts book are used to make calls and the normal text button can be used to send text messages.
Pay monthly consumer and small business customers will receive access initially, with a rollout to EE’s 4G corporate customers to follow later in the year.
EE’s new offering targets consumers and businesses that are hampered by poor connectivity. Research carried out by ICM on behalf of EE in March found almost one in ten people have one or more rooms in their home where they cannot connect to normal networks. This figure increased to 15 percent for people living in rural or non-rural areas.
Wi-fi calling also taps into the UK’s increasingly remote and mobile workforce, making it easier to reach people working from home.
The service is available from launch on the Lumia 640 and will be available on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge from 10 April. The roster of devices will be added to in coming weeks, with the aim of providing access to five million EE pay monthly customers by summer 2015.
"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," said Olaf Swantee, EE CEO.
Swantee added: "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."