UK mobile network EE has today announced trials of voice calls over both 4G and WiFi which it promises will provide higher quality calls than “unmanaged” third-party apps.
The feature will allow users to make “carrier grade” calls when in areas or buildings where mobile signal is poor.
The WiFi version is due to launch on selected handsets this autumn.
Trials of live voice calls over 4G will start this summer ahead of a expected roll-out in 2015.
There are already a number of popular voice and SMS messaging apps available for smartphones, including Skype and Viber.
However EE says its service will have the advantage of using the customer’s standard mobile number and their phone’s native dialler, avoiding the need to install additional apps.
Fotis Karonis, CTO at EE, said: “Our WiFi calling capability will let customers make calls where they have access to WiFi but not to the mobile network. The customer experience is seamless because it’s the same as making a network call and uses the normal call interface of the handset.
“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.”