Not happy to rest on its laurels, mobile network EE is trialling voice calls over Wi-Fi and 4G in the UK.
The move is part of EE's £275 million investment into voice and aims to remove 'whitespots', and create a 'zero defect' experience in the UK's busiest areas. EE hopes to launch calls over home, office or public Wi-Fi this autumn. See also: EE opens up broadband to non-mobile customers in the UK.
EE says that Wi-Fi calling will offer higher quality and better reliability than VoIP (voice over internet protocol). However, customers will need compatible smartphones to take advantage of the service.
Fotis Karonis, CTO at EE, said: "This is a major part of our strategy to invest in giving customers the ability to make a call wherever they are, and we're confident that this service can make a big difference to people in homes and large offices across the country, especially in the most rural areas, that don’t have mobile coverage."
The network said that users will be able to make calls and send text messages through the native apps without the need to install a new one alongside.
VoLTE: Call with your 4G connection
EE will begin trialling VoLTE, or calling with a 4G broadband data connection, later this year using the 800MHz. It will expand data and voice coverage, bringing service to a previously unconnected part of rural Oxfordshire.
The firm said a full launch will take place in 2015 once the technology has had a chance to mature and EE's 4G network exceeds 90 percent coverage – an essential stat to a viable 4G voice service.
"4G calling, or VoLTE, is an exciting technology that we're going to be trialling in the coming months using our low frequency spectrum, bringing one of the world's best voice and data services to a part of rural Britain that has previously been unconnected." added Karonis.