Vodafone UK launches Wi-Fi calling

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Vodafone announced plans to deploy a nationwide Wi-Fi calling service in the UK in the coming weeks, but only for subscribers with the right handsets.

The operator said its Wi-Fi calling service would enable eligible customers to make and receive calls in areas where cellular coverage is not available, including remote areas or sites like the London Underground.

Vodafone UK consumer director Cindy Rose said the Wi-Fi calling service "allows customers to talk to loved ones, friends and colleagues for longer and in many more places. It is easy to use and doesn't cost a penny more," than subscribers' regular cellular services.

Rose said the service is "one of a series of future voice services we are launching for our customers over the next few months,"

However, while Vodafone said the service will work wherever a customer is connected to Wi-Fi at home or in public in the same way as a normal mobile call, the operator noted that subscribers must also have a plan that supports the service.

Customers must also have a compatible handset, the operator said. It has yet to confirm which of its current line-up will be able to access the service.

The rollout of national Wi-Fi follows the recent launch of Vodafone's nationwide High Definition voice technology, 4G+ and coverage for remote communities that previously had no access.

Vodafone is also currently embarked upon a £2 billion (€2.7 billion/$3 billion) investment program to build out and strengthen current coverage and networks. The company has already extended 4G coverage to 626 cities, towns and districts as well as smaller communities.

Wi-Fi calling has suddenly become a must-have service in the European telco market, with operators including Swisscom, Telenor Sweden and Vodafone UK rival EE all launching similar such services in recent months.

For more:
-see this Vodafone press release
-see this Pocket-lint story
-see this Engadget story

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