The network believes that Wi-Fi service in particular will
benefit those who live in rural areas where there is limited
network coverage, or where it is difficult to get a signal indoors.
There will be no need to go through an app to take advantage of the
new feature; rather callers connected to Wi-Fi will automatically
be provided with voice signal.
“Our Wi-Fi Calling service will ensure that our customers never
miss a call. It is another important step towards our commitment to
build the UK’s strongest converged network,” said Vodafone’s UK
chief executive Jeroen Hoencamp.
Vodafone will also be transferring calls that currently take
place over its 2G and 3G voice networks to be carried instead
across 4G data networks. The technology has so far only been
trialled in labs, but the operator will soon begin trials ahead of
its commercial launch.
The official term for making calls over 4G is Voice over LTE
(VoLTE) and the technology has been in the US for around a year
now. Its big advantage is that it dramatically improves the quality
of voice calls. It is not a simple technology to deploy, but
Vodafone is funding its rollout as part of £1bn of spending that is
currently being invested on the network improving its network and
service across the UK.
It’s a timely investment for Vodafone, which performed poorly in
the RootMetrics 2014 UK Network Performance Review, which was
released last month. We know that EE is also experimenting with the
technology, but Vodafone has beaten it and the other major UK
networks to the draw in announcing plans for a rollout.