While mobile network coverage has drastically improved over the last two decades, there are still some rural parts of the UK that don’t benefit from a strong phone signal. With Wi-Fi calling, any household that has access to a Wi-Fi connection can make a phone or video call – whether there’s signal from your network provider or not.
What is Wi-Fi calling?
Simply put, Wi-Fi calling enables you to make and receive phone calls as normal, over a Wi-Fi connection. That means whether you’re at home, at a friend’s house, in a coffee shop or an airport, you can take or make a call, even if there’s no phone signal. You don’t need to download an app or plug in anywhere to use this feature – all you need is the passcode for a Wi-Fi network within range.
There are plenty of other apps that use Wi-Fi for calls, such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Skype. Wi-Fi calling directly on your handset uses the same VoIP (Voiceover Internet Protocol) technology as these apps – you’re just cutting out the middle man.
Does Wi-Fi calling cost money?
In the UK, different mobile networks might vary slightly in their Wi-Fi calling policy, so it’s worth checking the terms and conditions of your provider before you turn Wi-Fi calling on. For example, if you’re a Vodafone customer, there’s no extra charge for Wi-Fi calling, and any calls you make over a Wi-Fi connection will be taken out of your allowance, just like regular calls.
What happens if I move out of range?
If you have your mobile data turned on, you should also be able to move seamlessly between a Wi-Fi and 4G or 5G connection if you move out of range when you’re on a call. Wi-Fi calling is available on most smartphones, but it’s not generally turned on by default when you first set up your phone, so you may need to manually enable this feature to make the most of it.
Does Wi-Fi calling work for texts?
The short answer is yes. Once you’ve enabled Wi-Fi calling on your smartphone, you should be able to send and receive text messages without any phone signal – as long as you’re connected to a mobile network. How you’ll be charged for this service is also likely to differ according to your provider; it might be taken from your usual monthly text allowance, or you could be charged at the standard rate for the network in question.
How to activate Wi-Fi calling on an iPhone
It’s quick and easy to turn on Wi-Fi calling on your iPhone, but it’s worth noting that this function is only available from the iPhone 5C onward.
- Unlock your iPhone, and go to Settings.
- Tap the Phone option.
- Scroll down to Wi-Fi Calling.
- Drag the toggle across to turn on Wi-Fi calling.
How to activate Wi-Fi calling on an Android
Don’t have an iPhone? Luckily, activating Wi-Fi calling on an Android device is just as simple. This process might vary slightly in line with the exact handset you have – and the operating system it runs on – but whether you’ve got a Samsung, Google, or another Android device altogether, the basic steps should be the same across the board. These instructions should work for most Android phones:
- Unlock your device and open the Phone app, where you make your calls.
- Tap the Menu icon (this usually appears as three vertically stacked dots).
- Tap the Settings option.
- Scroll down to Calls and tap this option.
- Tap Wi-Fi Calling and drag the toggle across to On.
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