April 7, 2015 weblog
WiFi Calling offers coverage for UK homes, small offices
EE on Tuesday announced the launch of WiFi Calling to make calls and texts available in every home and small office in the UK. The launch could have a positive economic impact on productivity. This, said the company, will benefit over 4 million people across the UK who lose connection in at least one room in their home. Research carried out by ICM on behalf of EE in March (a poll of 2,000 adults) found almost one in ten people have one room or more in their home where they have no mobile connectivity. This increases to 15 percent for people in rural and semi-rural areas.
The home connectivity survey also found that a quarter of people in the UK work from home at least one day a week and 20 percent of those lose connectivity during the day. The numbers lead EE to believe that WiFi Calling could benefit the country's increasingly mobile workforce.
What's more, the National Association of Estate Agents said WiFi Calling can stop house sellers suffering from losing out because of poor mobile coverage. The EE release went on to promote WiFi Calling as having a potential change on the value of a home. Simon Gerrard, president, National Association of Estate Agents, said: "Mobile coverage is becoming increasingly important to people when they're buying a house – innovations like this can help sellers ensure they are maximizing the value of their home and are not losing out due to poor mobile coverage."
Olaf Swantee, EE CEO, said, "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." Swantee told the BBC that "We have worked more than a year to make sure that everything works like a normal phone connection." Ringtone, voicemail, and quality of the conversation remains the same with the EE solution.
EE is also promoting ease of adoption—no special app is needed for the service and it is not necessary that friends be in the same closed user group service for talking and messaging. WiFi Calling from EE uses the phone's normal dialer and contacts book to make calls, and the normal text button to send text messages. "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," Swantee said.
The launch involves the Lumia 640 and Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge. EE said, "More new and existing devices will be added to the WiFi Calling range in the coming weeks, and by summer 2015 more than five million EE pay monthly customers will have access to WiFi Calling." Initially, said the BBC, The WiFi Calling service will be limited to pay monthly subscribers using Samsung's Galaxy S6 and S5 phones and Microsoft's new Lumia 640. "Since it requires specific mobile data components to be built into the devices, it cannot be extended to other older models," said the BBC.
John McCann of TechRadar meanwhile, delivered a Tuesday overview of what the feature is and how it works. "Wi-Fi calling allows you to use a Wi-Fi network to make and receive phone calls, rather than using the traditional mobile network," he wrote. With EE's service, "you may not even notice you're actually using a Wi-Fi network rather than the mobile one - although you do get an icon in the status bar alerting you to the fact." He said text conversations remain uninterrupted and call log stays complete without the need to switch to a different application when using a Wi-Fi network to connect to friends.
EE is a digital communications company in Britain. Its mobile and fixed communications services are delivered to consumers, businesses, government and the wholesale market.
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