EE’s Wi-Fi Calling Reviewed: Make & Receive Phone Calls Over Wi-Fi

April 15th, 2015

EE has launched their Wi-Fi Calling service for Pay Monthly customers who have an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. It allows you to make and receive phone calls even where a mobile signal isn’t normally available.

EECustomers on EE with a Pay Monthly contract can now take advantage of their Wi-Fi Calling service. Providing you have a handset that’s compatible with the service, you can make and receive phone calls using only a wi-fi internet connection. It’s great news for anyone who has patchy network coverage at their home (e.g if you’re living in a rural area or in a basement flat). It also makes it possible to call from new places: for instance, when you’re on the London Underground in a station or a platform.

Wi-Fi Calling is currently available on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S5, Lumia 640 and Lumia 640XL. There’s no need for any additional applications but you’ll need to enable the service on your handset. Typically, you’ll also need to buy your handset directly from EE. The Wi-Fi Calling service can only be used when you’re in the UK.

In this article, we review EE’s Wi-Fi Calling service. We’ll discuss how the service works on your phone and we’ll look at the list of compatible handsets on which you’re able to use it. We’ll also look at the drawbacks and limitations and at alternative services you can use on another network.

How does Wi-Fi Calling work?

EE Wi-Fi CallingWi-Fi Calling is a new service from EE that allows you to make and receive phone calls using a wi-fi internet connection. It means you’re finally able to use your phone as normal even in the places where you lack a mobile phone signal.

Wi-Fi Calling is particularly useful for customers who have poor coverage at home. As it’s able to work on any wi-fi internet connection that’s sufficiently fast, you can also use the service when out and about. Customers in London can use Wi-Fi Calling on the London Underground when in a station and or on a platform. There’s no need to install additional applications: everything works through the normal dialler on your phone.

Whenever you’re using EE’s Wi-Fi Calling service, the network name displayed on your handset will be EE WiFiCall.

iPhone on EE Wi-Fi Calling

The network name shown on your handset will change to “EE WiFiCall” when you’re using Wi-Fi Calling.

Supported Tariffs

At present, you’ll need to be either an EE Pay Monthly customer or an EE Small Business customer. Customers on an EE Large Business (Corporate) tariff will have access to Wi-Fi Calling from summer 2014.

Wi-Fi Calling isn’t available to customers on EE Pay As You Go.

Tariff Type Is Wi-Fi Calling Available?
Pay Monthly Yes, available now. See list of compatible smartphones.
Pay As You Go No
Small Business Yes, available now. See list of compatible smartphones.
Large Business (Corporate) Available from Summer 2015. More information.

As well as having a supported tariff, you’ll also need a compatible smartphone.

Supported Handsets

EE Wi-Fi Calling Handsets

Smartphones that support Wi-Fi Calling include the iPhone 6, the Galaxy S6 and the Lumia 640.

At present, the Wi-Fi Calling service is only available on the following compatible smartphones:

  • Apple: iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c
  • Microsoft: Lumia 640 and Lumia 640XL (due in April 2015)
  • Samsung: Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and Galaxy S5

For the iPhone, your handset must be running on version 8.3 or later of the iOS operating system. You should check this by going to Settings > General > Software Update and making sure you have the latest version. You should also ensure you have the latest Carrier Version. To do this, go to Settings > General > About and verify you have version 19.1 or newer of the EE carrier settings. It doesn’t matter whether your iPhone was purchased from EE or another retailer (they’ll all work with the EE Wi-Fi calling service).

For all other devices (i.e. the Microsoft Lumia and Samsung Galaxy smartphones), you must have purchased your smartphone directly from EE. This is because your handset must be running the EE-branded version of the operating system. If your handset was purchased SIM-free, from a third-party retailer or from a different network operator, it unfortunately won’t be compatible with the Wi-Fi Calling service. You should text “wifi calling” to 150 to activate the feature on your handset.

View Full List of Compatible Smartphones »

For step-by-step instructions on setting up your handset to work with Wi-Fi Calling, we recommend having a look at this EE help article.

Drawbacks & Limitations

Going Abroad

Wi-Fi Calling will not work when you’re abroad in another country.

There are a number of key drawbacks and limitations currently associated with the service:

  • You can only use Wi-Fi Calling when you’re in the UK. EE doesn’t allow you to use Wi-Fi Calling when you’re abroad in another country. This is due to fears the service will cannibalise their revenues from roaming.
  • Phone calls won’t seamlessly hand over from wi-fi to the mobile network. If you make or receive a phone call using Wi-Fi, the call will terminate once you leave the range of the wi-fi network. In the coming months, EE is aiming to launch voice-over-LTE (VoLTE). A key benefit of VoLTE technology is that calls can be seamlessly handed over from wi-fi to mobile.
  • You can’t use Continuity at the same time as Wi-Fi Calling (iPhone). The iPhone supports a feature known as Continuity. This allows you to make and receive phone calls using a Mac or iPad that’s paired to your iPhone. Unfortunately, Continuity isn’t compatible with the Wi-Fi Calling service. It will automatically be disabled on your iPhone if you choose to enable the Wi-Fi Calling feature.
  • You must have bought your handset directly from EE (Android & Windows Phone). For Android and Windows Phone devices, Wi-Fi Calling will only work on your smartphone if it was purchased directly from EE. You can’t use Wi-Fi Calling on a SIM-free smartphone. You also won’t be able to use smartphones purchased from a third-party retailer (e.g. the Carphone Warehouse) or a different network operator. This is because the Wi-Fi Calling service will only work with EE-branded software.
  • If you place somebody on hold, they’ll hear silence rather than a holding tone. According to EE’s help page, this “small quirk” will be resolved in the future.

Alternatives to EE Wi-Fi Calling

EE, O2, Three and Vodafone

Customers on O2, Three and Vodafone aren’t able to use Wi-Fi Calling.

At present, EE is the only network operator offering Wi-Fi Calling to customers in the UK. Customers on rival networks with poor coverage at home will need to make use of alternative solutions:

  • O2: TU Go (application)
    Customers on O2 Pay Monthly can use the TU Go application to make and receive phone calls over a wi-fi connection. Use of TU Go requires a separate application. This makes it slightly less reliable for routing your phone calls. Call logs and text message chat histories are also siloed when you’re using the application. Compared to Wi-Fi Calling on EE, the key benefit is greater support for more devices. You can also use TU Go when travelling abroad in another country. For more information, read our review of TU Go.
  • Three: inTouch (application)
    Like O2, Three also has an app where you’re able to make and receive phone calls using a wi-fi connection. The app is available to all customers on Three (including Pay Monthly, SIM Only and Pay As You Go customers). The app is available on iPhone and Android. You must be inside the UK when using the application.
  • Vodafone Sure SignalVodafone: Sure Signal (femtocell)
    Vodafone has a £100 femtocell known as Sure Signal (pictured). It links up to your home broadband connection and gives you 5-bar 3G coverage with a range of 30m. A key benefit when using Sure Signal is it’s able to work with all 3G-compatible smartphones. You can also use your phone’s in-built dialler: there’s no need for any additional applications. The disadvantage of using Sure Signal is it’s tied to one place (typically your home where the Sure Signal is installed). This means you can’t use Sure Signal coverage when out and about. Read our full review for more information.

Behind the scenes, Wi-Fi Calling is making use of GAN/UMA technology (also known as Generic Access Network or Unlicensed Mobile Access). Orange previously offered this service under the ‘Signal Boost’ brand (Orange UK is now a part of EE). Vodafone is planning to launch their own Wi-Fi Calling service in summer 2015.

Switching to EE: Keep Your Current Phone Number

Transfer Phone Number to EE

If you’re switching to EE in order to take advantage of their Wi-Fi Calling service, it’s easy to transfer a phone number from your old network.

Start by ordering your new Pay Monthly smartphone from EE’s website. For Android and Windows Phone devices, you must buy the handset directly from EE. Once you’ve ordered the smartphone from EE, you should contact your old network and ask them for a PAC Code. A PAC Code will authorise the transfer of your phone number over to EE.

After receiving the new smartphone from EE, you can head over to this online form. Here, you can submit the PAC Code to EE. Once you’ve provided the PAC Code, your phone number transfer will normally take place on the next working day.

For a step-by-step guide on moving your number to EE, please select your current mobile network from the drop down menu below:

PAC Code Finder: Transfer Your Phone Number to EE

Your current network provider:

  More Options

More Information

For more information, see the EE web page on their wi-fi calling service. For customers who already have a compatible smartphone, there’s a handy guide showing you how to get started.

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About Ken

Ken Lo

My passion is helping people to get the most out of their mobile phone. I've been blogging at Ken's Tech Tips since 2005.

Aside from writing about mobile technology, my interests are in software development, digital marketing and physics. Outside of the blog, I work with numerous technology companies helping them to explain their product and helping them to market it to consumers. Please get in touch for more information.

Your Comments

We'd love to hear your thoughts and any questions you may have. So far, we've received 30 comments from readers. You can add your own comment here.

  1. Rupert said:

    My wife has just set this up on her iPhone and the results been mixed at best. She uses it for business calls at home where there is a weak EE signal. However the phone is reluctant to use our wifi although she is sat next to apple airport express and we have great broadband. When she makes calls they default to the normal phone signal (i.e. not wifi calling) and she struggles away on the weak phone signal with poor quality / drop-outs.

    When we experimented by changing the carrier setting on the phone (i.e. away from EE so it could not use the phone signal) the call defaulted to wifi and it worked really well. The same effect was achieved by turning to flight setting and turning wifi back on. However…..if she stays in this mode it won’t take incoming calls – so she has to switch back at the end of the call – all it all its proved to be a bit of a waste of effort!

    Any thoughts?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Rupert,
      I use EE’s wi-fi calling on my own phone and I agree, it can be a little hit and miss as to whether it uses wi-fi for calling (I believe the phone automatically detects whether the wi-fi network is fast enough and will then choose either 3G or wi-fi based on that). I’m not sure if there’s any way of adjusting the priority (e.g. to use wi-fi preferentially) – this is something you might need to check with your manufacturer or EE?

  2. Alex said:

    I’ve just bought a Nexus 6P from Google (not EE!) and have persuaded Customer Services to enable WiFi calling. It works a treat!

    It looks like the restriction on phones bought from EE only is just there to get you to buy phones from EE!

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Alex,
      Thanks – great feedback! I’ve just tried this on my Nexus 6P from Google as well – I enabled the wi-fi calling option in the settings, restarted the phone and it now works on EE’s wi-fi calling! I wonder if this might be specific to the operating system, however, it’s possible some older versions of Android lack the wi-fi calling software.
      Thanks again,

  3. Malcolm said:

    Hi I’m using ee wifi from home as the mobile signal is weak. However when I ring out it seems the caller id is set to ‘international’ which is putting people off answering given the prevalence of unsolicited calls these days. Is there a setting that will ensure my mobile number is displayed? I’m using an iPhone 6. Thanks

  4. Jon said:

    Just as a small correction to the article, it states that there is no handover from WiFi calling to mobile network. I can’t speak for WiFi calling “proper”, but certainly on Blackberry UMA version (which I use extensively while working at one particular location) there is handover from UMA>mobile but not vice-versa.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Jon,
      Thanks for the feedback about UMA on the BlackBerry! Unfortunately, as it stands at the moment, there’s no handover between EE Wi-Fi Calling and the mobile phone network. For more information, you can see the ‘How it works’ section of this EE help article.

  5. Michael Oram said:

    In UK, I have a Lumia 640 with EE which worked fine with WIFI CALLING using Windows Phone 8.1. However, since upgrading to Windows 10.0.13005.0, Wifi Calling switch does not toggle on.

  6. Simon said:

    Hi ken
    I recently upgraded to an s6 from the note 2 to make use of wifi calling. All done through ee shop. It didn’t work on the phone at all. When I contacted EE on 150 they stated that there was problem with the software on both iPhones and Samsungs and they’re waiting for the companies to sort it out. When I took the phone back to the shop they said they have not heard anyone complain. They even called Samsung who said they knew of no problems… do you know if there have been any issues and what handset would produce most reliable wifi calling?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Simon,
      Thanks for your comment. I’m not aware of any known issues with wi-fi calling on the Galaxy S6 (for a better answer, you might want to try posting your question on the EE Community). All I’d really be able to say is to make sure you have the latest software on your handset (go to Settings > About device > Software updates).

  7. Caroline said:

    Hi Ken

    You said in one of your earlier comments that I can access wifi calling from my iphone 6 even if i bought it from cpw?? how do i do this as when it is turned on it does nothing??

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Caroline,
      Thanks for your comment. To set up Wi-Fi Calling on your iPhone 6, I recommend taking a look at the help article from EE (it has step-by-step instructions on how you can do this).
      Hope this helps,

  8. Russell said:

    I just bought an ee 24 mth contract for Samsung s6 through a 3rd party….from reading this I now know why I don’t get wifi calling but surely there is an app or update that can let me get my calls over wifi us g my number

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Russell,
      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, there isn’t a third-party app that allows you to receive phone calls on the normal EE number. This is because such an application would need to hook in to EE’s network (at the moment, only their Wi-Fi Calling service is able to do this). Sorry 🙁

      1. Russell replied:

        I accept all that but as a contract ee customer I am being discriminated against by ee becouse I bought my phone via 3rd party…..just found out this effects all car phone warehouse customers too……everyone still pays ee but now ee has a class system

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Russell,
          Unfortunately, this problem arises due to software limitations.
          When the Carphone Warehouse provides you with a handset, it’s the SIM-free version that works on any network. The handsets are provided with generic UK software: there are no additions or changes from EE. Unfortunately, as the generic software doesn’t support Wi-Fi Calling, you aren’t able to use Wi-Fi Calling on these handsets.
          With the EE-provided Android & Windows Phone handsets, you’ll normally get an EE-locked handset with modifications and customisations added by EE. As Wi-Fi Calling is one of the EE additions, you’ll need an EE-provided handset to use Wi-Fi Calling. For the iPhone, a slightly different situation applies. As Apple have included Wi-Fi Calling in the basic software, you can use the feature even on CPW iPhones.
          I agree, however, EE should probably do more to publicise the fact that Wi-Fi Calling only works on EE-provided handsets.

          1. Craig Hallam replied:

            Hi there. I’m looking to move to EE from Vodafone but we live in an area with very poor signal. We have the Sure Signal with Vodafone and we are interested in the EE Signal Box. I know Wifi Calling is available but only if you want to spend £15 a month more getting exactly the same deal from EE itself rather than a third party!!! Does anyone know how much the EE Signal Boxes are and if they will supply one to someone who has purchased a contract through a third party? We would stay with Vodafone but the general signal and 4G appears to be well behind EE!!??… Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated before we jump ship.

  9. Jonathan said:

    Great idea but hopeless in execution. I have fibre broadband but rubbish EE signal so delighted to get wifi calling but even standing 3 feet from the HomeHub 5 the calls keep dropping out. Orange tried this with Blackberry devices a few years ago and that didn’t work either. Like 4G, a good idea but rubbish in practice.

    1. Eve replied:

      Belated response…but the problem is likely with your Home Hub’s firmware &/or security settings. My S5 will display the WiFi Calling icon whenever it’s in range of WiFi, except when I’m at home – where I have an HH5. A bit of internet poking yesterday revealed that this is a pretty common problem for BT/EE users. I haven’t solved it yet, but will give it a go & report back if that would be useful.

  10. Tony said:

    I got a message from the people’s operator who currently use ‘EE’ network, they told me it will work on comparable handsets, I’m on a iPhone 5’s latest software on the monthly tariff option, they install a profile for Internet on your phone. I don’t have the wifi calling option now in my settings.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Tony,
      Thanks for your comment. Wi-Fi Calling is actually available only on EE. It’s not available on EE MVNOs. I believe TPO have probably made a mistake if they sent you a message saying Wi-Fi Calling is available?

  11. a.g.vayani said:

    Hi Ken
    My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S5, used in the same way as 5 month ago in Karachi, with the EE full package in the UK.
    I am in Karachi again with aeroplane mode turned on, mobile data off and wi-fi on.
    I am now receiving calls (missed calls except from one where we spoke for a few minutes) and full messages.
    Full telephone signal unlike the last trip.
    I am in the same situation as the earlier UK writer in the USA.

  12. Jayne said:

    Hi Ken I have followed your instructions Tap Settings > Wi-Fi on your iPhone. When WiFi is enabled, your phone will search for available WiFi networks. Tap the name of the network you want, enter the password and choose to join. Once you’re connected, you’ll see the WiFi logo appear in the status bar at the top left of your display.
    When I tape the name of the network I want, I do not get asked for a password to join. I am on the EE contract through carphone warehouse. Thanks for any insight.

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Jayne,
      Thanks for your comment. There’s no need to enter a password for all wi-fi networks (you’ll only need it on password-protected networks that you haven’t connected to before in the past). Are you able to follow the rest of the instructions with regards to enabling the feature in Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calls?

  13. rosemarie sutherland said:

    I am currently out of the UK. I updated my Samsung Galaxy 5 this morning and noticed a drastic change. Although my mobile data is off and airplane mode on , I have received several mobile messages from ee. I have also noticed a new icon…wifi signal with a telephone below and I was able to make a call to the UK. I do hope am not charged because I have taken every precaution to ensure that this does not happen. Upon research, I realised that ee has launched a wifi cslling service which is limited to the UK. My questions are: Why are calls to Uk connecting although am outside the country? Am I being charged?

    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Rosemarie,
      Thanks for your comment. Did you receive a text message from EE when abroad? If so, I’d double-check to make sure flight mode has been disabled all of the time (it shouldn’t normally be possible to receive a text message unless you have a mobile signal). It’s also possible you could have received this message using EE Wi-Fi Calling. Can you double-check to see whether the feature is enabled on your Galaxy S5? You can do this through Settings > Call > WiFi Calling. If your phone was on flight mode and if you haven’t connected to a mobile network abroad, EE may still think you’re in the UK (hence why you’re able to use the service). With regards to the question of whether you were charged, I’d recommend having a look at the My EE website.
      Hope this helps and do let me know what you discover from the above!
      Many thanks,

      1. rosemarie sutherland replied:

        Thsnks for your reply Ken. Yes, I received several text messages and calls as well.This is while the flight mode is on and mobile data off. Yes, am abroad (USA). I also called ee 150 and spoke with an agent who told me this should not be happening if flight mode is on…but yes, it’s on. I can see the icon on my phone and I have also checked. I’ve been away now for the past two weeks and this wasn’t happening. Since I’ve updated my Samsung Galaxy 5 this morning, I was alerted by a message from ee hence my research. the wifi icon with the little telephone image is still on my phone as well as the flight mode icon.

        1. Ken Lo
          Ken replied:

          Hi Rosemarie,
          Count me in as totally stumped by this question! As you say, the phone shouldn’t be able to receive regular calls or text messages when stuck in flight mode (you can still receive iMessage/WhatsApp/Skype/Facebook calls etc). Could you kindly double check something for me quickly? On the Galaxy S5, could you go to Settings > More > About device > Status? It would be interesting to see the readings for Network, Signal strength, Mobile network type and Service state. On my device, when it’s put into Flight mode, it says: Unknown, -113dBm 0asu, Unknown, Radio off. If your smartphone is showing some information here, the Flight Mode feature may be working incorrectly. As a final thing, have you received any phone calls or text messages when not connected to wi-fi? Or do they only come in when you have a wi-fi connection?
          Many thanks,

  14. Janison said:

    Hi, quick question, will bt mobile have this feature as they use ees signal?


    1. Ken Lo
      Ken replied:

      Hi Janison,
      Unfortunately, customers on BT Mobile or EE MVNOs won’t be able to use EE Wi-Fi Calling. It’s only available to customers on EE.

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