When you really need to make a phone call, there are few things more annoying than seeing that little ‘no signal’ icon in the corner of your screen. If you live in the country, phone signal is often patchy and it’s a pain if it cuts out when you’re in the middle of a call.
That’s why Wi-Fi calling might be a good option as you can make a free phone call using the internet. It’s only available for a few phones and on a couple of networks though so let’s look at whether you’ll be able to use the service and how it works.
Got no signal?
It might sound obvious, but you’ll need a Wi-Fi connection to make a call through Wi-Fi. You can do this from home, work or from someone else’s house where you’ve got access to the Wi-Fi connection. When you make a call and there’s no network, your phone will automatically transfer it through the Wi-Fi without the need to open an app.
Out and about? Find out where you can get free Wi-Fi to connect on the go.
EE and Vodafone both offer Wi-Fi calling but the service only works on a handful of phones. The iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 5S and 5C all support Wi-Fi calling on EE, as well as the Samsung Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge and the Galaxy S5. If you want to see if your phone can make Wi-Fi calls, get in touch with your network supplier.
If you’re not supported
Don’t worry if you’re not on EE or Vodafone – you could still make a call for free through the internet. O2 and Three also offer Wi-Fi calling apps but it’s a slightly different service. If you’re on one of these networks, you can open the app and make a call through it to be able to connect but it won’t go through automatically.
Popular messaging apps like WhatsApp and Skype also let you send messages and make calls through the Wi-Fi but again, you’d have to go through the apps to do this. This means it’s not quite as easy to use as Vodafone and EE’s Wi-Fi calling, as these will just connect automatically when there’s no network signal available.
If you’re using WhatsApp, Skype or any other app to make calls, be aware that these don’t just work through Wi-Fi – they can also work through your 3G or 4G data connection too. That means that if you’re not on the Wi-Fi, you could start using up your data allowance – and if you’re don’t realise you’re doing this, it could end up quite costly. When you’re out and about and you’re not using the internet, switch off your mobile browsing so you don’t use up your data – you should be able to do this through your phone’s settings.