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Vodafone UK to launch wifi calling and VoLTE this summer

Wifi 3

Vodafone UK has announced it is set to launch wifi calling and voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) this summer. According to the telco, wifi calling will be especially helpful for subscribers living in poor coverage areas or where getting an indoor signal is difficult.

The operator said the wifi calling option will automatically become available without the need to go through an app. “Our wifi calling service will ensure that our customers never miss a call,” Jeroen Hoencamp, Vodafone UK Chief Executive said. “It is another important step towards our commitment to build the UK’s strongest converged network.”

Vodafone also said it is about to start user trials of its VoLTE service to get it ready for roll-out across its 4G network by the summer. The operator said it has carried out several months of testing of both technologies in its network lab.

Both services are part of the operator’s wider £1 billion network investment plan, under which the operator has previously rolled out its LTE Advanced service and launched its nationwide HD voice technology, as well as the Rural Open Sure Signal programme for 3G coverage in rural areas.

Wifi calling will be a good feature to have in many instances but of course it will only work in vicinities where the use of apps such as Skype or Viber is already possible. Having wifi calling signal automatically available without the need to go through an app though is a bonus.

As for VoLTE, it is definitely gaining momentum, and it is largely seen as the way to offer the pinnacle of quality voice service. Rich communications service solutions specialist Mavenir recently said it expects VoLTE to take off in the US this year, and while in Europe operators continue with their LTE investments, they are likely to follow suit.

EE has said it will start offering customers wifi calling from April 7, initially only available with the Microsoft Lumia 640 and on the Samsung Galaxy S6 from April 10. A spokesperson for the operator said wifi calling is a major part of EE’s investment strategy, and will make a big difference to many customers.*

*Update on 10.03.2015, 17.25 pm

Telecoms.com’s news coverage is sponsored by NEC.

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