EE’s Wi-Fi Calling Reviewed: Make & Receive Phone Calls Over Wi-Fi
December 13th, 2016
EE’s wi-fi calling service allows you to make and receive phone calls even when a mobile signal isn’t available.
Customers on EE Pay Monthly can benefit from more reliable calling and texting by taking advantage of EE’s wi-fi calling service. Providing you have a compatible smartphone, this allows you to make and receive phone calls using only a wi-fi internet connection. This is great news for anyone who has patchy network coverage at their home or workplace (e.g if you’re living in a rural area or basement flat). It also makes it possible to stay connected in new places: for instance, making phone calls from a London Underground station.
In this article, we review EE’s Wi-Fi Calling service. We’ll start by discussing how the service works, before looking at requirements like supported handsets and tariffs. We’ll then look at the drawbacks of the service and at alternative services for improving your coverage on other mobile networks.
How does Wi-Fi Calling work?
Wi-Fi Calling is a 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 or at work. As it can work on any wi-fi internet connection that’s sufficiently fast, you can also use the service when out and about. For instance, customers in London can use Wi-Fi Calling whilst travelling on the Underground.
With Wi-Fi Calling, there is no need to install any 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.
At present, EE’s wi-fi calling service is available on the following compatible smartphones:
- Apple: iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and iPhone SE
- BlackBerry: BlackBerry Dtek 50 and BlackBerry Priv
- EE: Harrier and Harrier Mini
- Google: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel and Pixel XL
- HTC: HTC 10, One A9, One M9, and Desire 530
- LG: LG G5, LG G5 SE, LG G4, LG K9, LG K8 and LG X cam
- Microsoft: Lumia 550, Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL
- Samsung: Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S5, Galaxy A3 (2016) and Galaxy A5 (2016)
- Sony: Xperia X, Xperia X Compact, Xperia XA, Xperia XZ, Xperia Z5, Xperia Z5 Compact and Xperia Z5 Premium
For all handsets except from the Apple iPhone, it’s a requirement that your handset was purchased directly from EE. This is because your handset needs to be running the EE-branded version of Android or Windows Phone. If your handset was purchased SIM-free, from another mobile network or from a third-party retailer like the Carphone Warehouse, it unfortunately won’t be compatible with Wi-Fi Calling on EE.
If you’re using an iPhone, it’s not necessary for your handset to have been purchased from EE. However, you should make sure you’re running version 8.3 or later of the iOS operating system (you can check your version of iOS by going to Settings > General > Software Update and making sure you have the latest available version). You should also ensure you have the latest version of the EE carrier settings. To do this, go to Settings > General > About and verify you have version 19.1 or newer of the EE carrier settings.
For step-by-step instructions on setting up your handset to work with Wi-Fi Calling, please see this help article on EE’s website.
With all three, it’s a requirement for your handset also to be compatible with wi-fi calling. For Pay Monthly and business contracts, a list of compatible handsets is available from EE. For SIM-only deals, you’ll need to make sure by yourself that your handset is compatible (for Android and Windows Phone devices, an added complication is your handset must have been purchased directly from EE).
Wi-Fi Calling isn’t currently available to customers on EE Pay As You Go.
|Tariff Type||Is Wi-Fi Calling Available?|
|Pay Monthly||✔ Yes, see list of compatible smartphones.|
|SIM Only||✔ Yes, requires a compatible smartphone (see above).|
|Small Business||✔ Yes, see list of compatible smartphones.|
|Large Business||✔ Yes, available now.|
|Pay As You Go||✘ No|
Drawbacks & Limitations
There are a number of key drawbacks and limitations 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 other countries. This is due to fears the service will cannibalise revenue from roaming.
- Phone calls might drop when you move out of the wi-fi coverage area. If you make or receive a phone call using wi-fi, the phone call might sometimes drop when you leave the range of that wi-fi network (this will happen if 4G Calling isn’t available e.g. if your handset is incompatible with 4G Calling or if there’s no coverage in your area).
- You must have bought your handset directly from EE (Android & Windows Phone only). If you’re using an Android or Windows Phone device, Wi-Fi Calling will only work if your handset was purchased directly from EE. You won’t be able to use Wi-Fi Calling on a SIM-free smartphone, or on smartphones from a third-party retailer like the Carphone Warehouse.
- You can’t change certain network settings whilst connected to Wi-Fi Calling. If you’re connected to the Wi-Fi Calling service, you won’t be able to change the call waiting, call forwarding or withhold number settings (however, they’ll continue to work as normal if you’ve already set them up). You’ll need to disconnect from wi-fi if you’d like to change these settings.
Previously, there were several other quirks associated with the wi-fi calling service (e.g. it didn’t work with Continuity on the iPhone and there was also no tone when you placed phone calls on hold). These quirks with the Wi-Fi Calling service have now been resolved.
Wi-Fi Calling is only available to customers on EE who have a compatible handset and tariff.
If you’re a customer of another mobile network, you might be able to make use of one of the following alternatives:
- O2: On O2, you can download the TU Go application to make and receive phone calls over a wi-fi connection. As TU Go uses a separate application, it’s less reliable compared to Wi-Fi Calling. Your call logs and text message chat histories are also kept separately within the TU Go application.
- Three: Customers on Three can use the inTouch application to make and receive phone calls on a wi-fi connection. Alternatively, it may also be possible to get a Home Signal box.
- Vodafone: Vodafone has a wi-fi calling service for compatible smartphones. For anyone using a non-compatible handset, it may also be possible to get a Vodafone Sure Signal.
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).
For more information on how to improve your coverage, please see our in-depth guide to mobile coverage in the UK.
Keeping Your Phone Number
EE’s Wi-Fi Calling service makes use of your normal EE phone number (i.e. other people call you on your normal EE number and you can also call out to other people using your normal EE number).
If you’d like to switch to EE, it’s easy to transfer your phone number from an old mobile network to EE. After doing this, you’ll be able to benefit from EE’s Wi-Fi Calling service.
You should start by ordering your new handset or SIM card directly on EE’s website. Once you’ve done this, you can contact your old mobile network to ask them for a PAC Code. This is a nine-digit code that will authorise the transfer of your phone number to EE.
After receiving your new smartphone or SIM card from EE, you can head over to this online form. Here, you’ll be able to submit your PAC Code to EE. Once you’ve done this, your phone number will normally be transferred to EE 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|
For more information on EE’s Wi-Fi Calling service, please see their official website. For customers who already have a compatible smartphone, there’s a handy guide here showing you how to get started.
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.