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.

EECustomers 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?

EE Wi-Fi CallingWi-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.

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 Handsets

EE Wi-Fi Calling Handsets

You can access EE’s wi-fi calling service on most modern high-end smartphones released in the past 2 years.

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
Galaxy S7 Edge

If you’re using an Android smartphone (e.g. a Samsung Galaxy), it must have been purchased directly from EE.

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.

View Full List of Compatible Smartphones »

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.

Supported Tariffs

ee-wi-fi-calling-userYou can use EE’s wi-fi calling service if you have a Pay Monthly contract, a SIM-only deal or a EE business contract.

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

Going Abroad

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

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.

Alternatives

  • O2
  • Three
  • Vodafone

If you're on O2, Three or Vodafone, alternative solutions might be available.

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

Transfer Phone Number to EEEE’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

Your current network provider:

  More Options

More Information

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.

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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?
      Ken

  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,
      Ken

  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.
      Ken

  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).
      Ken

  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??
    Thanks
    Caroline

    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,
      Ken

  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 🙁
      Ken

      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.
          Ken

          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:

    Hi
    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.
    Thanks
    Tony

    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?
      Ken

  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.
    Thanks
    Ghaffar
    Northwood,middlesex,uk

  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?
      Ken

  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,
      Ken

      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,
          Ken

  14. Janison said:

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

    Thanks
    Janison

    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.
      Ken

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