October 28, 2016

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone: Which networks offer Wi-Fi Calling?

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Along with VoLTE (Voice over LTE), Wi-Fi Calling is set to upgrade the humble phone call. As the name suggests it lets you make and receive calls over Wi-Fi, as well as sending and receiving texts. That could be handy if you’re somewhere with little or no mobile signal, including the London Underground.

EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three each offer Wi-Fi Calling in some form, but some do it a lot better than others. Read on for a rundown on each network’s approach.

EE Wi-Fi Calling

EE launches Wi-Fi Calling

EE offers true Wi-Fi Calling, which is to say there aren’t any separate apps or accounts involved, instead calls and texts will come through via your standard dialler and SMS apps, they’ll just use Wi-Fi to do so if you’re connected to a Wi-Fi network.

That makes it a seamless experience, which is a big bonus and calls and texts will come out of your normal monthly allowance.

The only downside to EE’s Wi-Fi Calling is that it’s not available on all devices, but it is available on a large and ever growing selection of handsets, including the iPhone 7, iPhone 6S, Samsung Galaxy 7, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and many more.

  • Browse all EE WiFi Calling phones here.

Vodafone Wi-Fi Calling

Vodafone_WiFi_Calling

Vodafone’s Wi-Fi Calling service is similar to EE’s, in that it works seamlessly without the need for a separate app. You simply need to have a compatible handset on a Vodafone Red, Red Value or Red+ tariff and then to enable Wi-Fi Calling in the phone’s settings. Once that’s done you’ll be able to call and text as normal, but over Wi-Fi when available.

Vodafone Wi-Fi Calling is available on the iPhone 7,  iPhone 6S, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and many other devices.

  • Browse all Vodafone Wi-Fi Calling phones here.

Vodafone also has another trick up its sleeve called Call+, which is an additional service that works in combination with Wi-Fi Calling (or standard calls if you have a mobile data connection). It allows you to mark your call as important, type a subject or reason for the call, add your current location and even add a photo.

So the person you’re calling has far more information available before you even start talking. You can also switch to a video call mid conversation and once the call is done you can access any messages, photos or videos that were shared during the call directly from the call logs. If the person you’re calling doesn’t answer you can also leave a note or voice message for them.

This service requires the Vodafone Call+ app and it’s only available on Android. But once you’ve got the app it too is fairly seamless.

O2 TU Go

O2_TU_Go

O2’s approach isn’t as seamless as EE’s or Vodafone’s as you need the O2 TU Go app to make use of Wi-Fi Calling on the network. But it’s a fairly simple app and easy to set up, it also has the advantage that you can use it on multiple devices, including tablets and laptops, so you can stay in touch with people even if your phone dies.

You can be logged into up to 10 devices at any one time, so you’ll always be able to get calls and messages somewhere.

Plus as it’s an app it works on most devices, including any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch with iOS 5.0 or higher and any Android device running Android 2.3 or above.

  • Browse all O2 WiFi Calling supported devices here

O2 has also made it as slick to use as possible, by automatically putting calls through on it when there’s little or no mobile signal and by allowing you to call and text people using it even if they don’t also have the app. But you will need to use the app rather than your standard SMS and call apps.

Three inTouch

Three_inTouch

Three also takes an app-driven approach to Wi-Fi Calling with its inTouch app. It works similar to TU Go and while it does require a separate app you don’t need an account or password, just a smartphone on Three.

Minutes and texts will come out of your standard credit, so there are no extra charges either and it works on most Android phones running Android 4.0 or above and most iPhones running iOS 6 or higher.

  • Browse all Three WiFi Calling devices here.

 

  • James Vincent

    Note to make. Vodafone WiFi calling is not and won’t be available to Pay As You Go users.
    Three’s app I’d great in a way as it’s available to all Android users and iOS. Where EE had cherry picked handsets to activate.

    • Russ

      Vodafone are taking a softly-softly approach with what’s still a new service to them – they only launched their WiFi calling on 25th September, and made it available only on the latest iPhone and one high-end Android phone whilst a dedicated team monitors & tweaks the service to ensure it’s reliable before allowing access from more handsets & plans (so says our account manager).

      Having used both app-based and now native WiFi calling, I’ve found the latter to be a significant improvement – it “just works”, with no need to remember to go into a fiddly app to make a call or flit between the app’s inbox & my phone’s inbox to see an entire conversation.

      • James Vincent

        The SMS conversation split between three’s app & stock app is a nuisance. But other than that I’m happy with it. Its no bother opening up an app for voice calls. But then that’s personal preference. I just think Vodafone could have been more prepared to roll out Wi-Fi calling to more before launch. My PAYG handset could do with it.

        • Russ

          Having a Systems Engineer background myself, I can understand a phased roll-out approach – if something goes wrong in the early ‘fine tuning’ weeks, it’s far better to have a small number of folks inconvenienced and the rest still waiting for it than everyone mad at you for it going wrong.

          However, it is a shame that Vodafone are remaining silent about their future plans with it. Would at least be nice to know the target dates for availability, even if they shift before being launched.

  • PlayPhone

    I like 4g it’s great to use wish Virginmobile had 4g

  • Ballor network

    I think Virginmobile will have 4g when 5g is available to all other network. Virginmobile will be behind with everything so retard network

  • colin_thames

    I love the EE wifi calling as it’s so seemless. I’ve tried the O2 and Three apps and although they’re better than nothing it can be frustrating, especially as texts appear in your normal inbox or the app depending on how you’re connected, but not both, so finding them is a bit more complex.
    One big plus of TU (as it’s now known, not TuGo) is that you can have it on any phone (or even a wifi only device), without your SIM having to be present. This means you could pop a foreign sim in while travelling but still pick up your calls and texts coming in to your O2 number or you could separate your work and personal calls on one phone while at home.
    The Three InTouch app won’t allow this, as you have to have the Three SIM in the phone at all times. I’m not sure if it’s intentional but whenever I removed the Three SIM the app asked me to re-validate it on the network, which you can’t do without… inserting the sim!
    Another big plus is that you can receive calls or call home via wifi when abroad, at UK rates on the Three and O2 apps, so long as it’s over wifi.
    EE wifi calling, although technically superior, doesn’t give you calls from abroad at UK rates. EE still classes wifi calls in the same way as normal network calls. I can see why, there’s no control with wifi calling. You use your normal phone dialer with EE. If you put your EE phone into airplane mode to prevent calls over the network, then turn on wifi, wifi calling won’t work. There’s no way of selecting whether a call is made over wifi or the network. However, you’re safe with Tu or Three InTouch so long as you turn off the network or even just turn off data roaming.
    It would be nice to see some of the virtual networks – Tesco, ID, Virgin – launching their own wifi calling apps while we still have patchy coverage in the UK, and to allow calling home from overseas at UK rates.

  • SP

    Unfortunetly the article is a bit inaccurate. Just transfered from EE to Vodafone and must say that EE worked better. The biggest advantage however is that EE offers WiFi Calling and Texts while Vodafone only Calls. This means that if you are in an area with poor reception like I am, you cannot receive nor send texts… Poor, poor Vodafone.

  • Wood Whittler

    Tesco Mobile piggyback on the O2 network BUT Tesco Mobile do NOT support Tu Go. So if you take out a Tesco Mobile contract and move to an area with poor (and there are a lot of them) O2 mobile coverage then you are stuffed.

  • George Will Fix It

    I think a very important question is which one works without the SIM and while on a WiFi connection in another country?
    I know TuGo does, it even uses the 3G of another Sim card to do that, but TuGo is crashing a lot these days, losing calls and causing mayhem with people getting redirected to voicemail when calling you even though you are there waiting for their call
    – Three insist that their SIM is in the phone for their app to work, so there goes Using it abroad for roaming on another SIM card 3G
    – Not sure about EE or Vodaphone, I assume being seamless also requires their SIM cards to be in the phone.

  • Clive Raincock

    Three’s App is all very well, But….
    I am told that Three will be going to full wifi calling in some months, maybe by the end of 2016, or maybe early 2017. Cannot wait for the Full Monty!!??

  • Sepehr

    ******important*****
    Please update this post, wifi calling is available on Three without the app.
    Currently available on Samsung S6/S6Edge and LG G5 and S7/S7Edge by end of 2016.
    Available on iPhone 5 and above from 12th of December.
    ***Just make sure you have the latest software update and the software on your android phone provided by Three UK(Frimware)***

    • Will

      What is your source??

      • Sepehr

        Also I was on trial !

      • Sepehr

        check on their websites, on Google search for Three wifi calling , I got the dates from my friend, he work for Three

  • andy

    TuGo is not very reliable, great when it’s working but I’m looking for an alternative because yet again my texts via the service are not getting to their recipients, this happens too often.

  • Matt

    My Galaxy S6 Edge on Three has native WiFi calling/texting as of October 2016. No need for their separate app anymore.