Vodafone Rolls Out Native VoWi-Fi To Select Handsets

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Vodafone enables calls to be made over a Wi-Fi connection for some users

Vodafone is rolling out a nationwide Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) service to some of its customers, allowing them to make and receive calls on a wireless network when a cellular signal is unavailable.

The feature should improve the performance of Vodafone’s network in rural areas where coverage is patchy, in complex indoor environments such as large offices and areas where coverage is impossible – such as the London Underground.

Vodafone claims its 4G network now covers 70 percent of the UK population in terms of outdoor coverage.

Vodafone VoWi-Fi

Vodafone 4GLike EE, which launched wireless calling earlier this year, Vodafone’s VoWi-Fi is native. This means the feature is built-in to the handset’s dialler and messaging applications and does not require the user to open a specific application like O2’s Tu Go and Three’s InTouch.

“Our Wi-Fi calling service allows customers to talk to loved ones, friends and colleagues for longer in many more places. It is easy to use and doesn’t cost a penny more,” said Cindy Rose, Vodafone’s UK consumer director. “It works wherever a customer is connected to Wi-Fi, in a café, at home or in the office, and automatically connects just like a normal call when mobile signal is weak or non-existent.”

Vodafone VoWi-Fi will be rolled out nationwide over the coming weeks and will be accessible to owners of a number of “leading smartphones.” TechWeekEurope has asked Vodafone which handets will be supported at launch but had not received a response at the time of publication.

In all cases though, customers will have to be on a monthly Vodafone Red bundle to take advantage of the feature with no mention of pay as you go support.

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