(Image Credit: Vodafone)
Most operators are looking at WiFi-based solutions to help keep users connected in areas where cellular suffers. UK operator Three, for example, offers an application to support voice calls over WiFi using a customer’s mobile plan. EE meanwhile already uses new smartphone features in the latest mobile devices to offer WiFi calling without the need to even install an app.
Vodafone has announced this morning it has also enabled built-in WiFi calling for supported handsets on its network to ensure “it no longer matters whether you’re stuck in the basement, in a home with thick walls or on the London Underground.”
The service is simple to use and should avoid the complicated process – for some users – of setting-up an application or third-party VoIP service. Another benefit of the WiFi service is that it will allow customers to call anyone no matter what operator they’re using – or whether they are on cellular or WiFi themselves.
Dave Fraser, CEO of Devicescape, said: “Vodafone’s launch of WiFi Calling is another important acknowledgement that the connectivity needs of today’s smartphone user can only be met with a combination of cellular and WiFi. In particular it highlights the challenge operators face in providing reliable indoor coverage. However, if mobile operators do not address the quality, simplicity and security of their customers’ WiFi connectivity — to bring the experience in line with that available on the cellular network — services such as WiFi Calling will be fundamentally limited.”
“A service that manages each user’s total smartphone connectivity is the answer. By managing connectivity in real time such that users get automated access to the best available connection — WiFi or cellular — mobile operators can deliver the consistency of experience their customers demand. And by blending the huge resource of public amenity Wi-Fi into the mix, operators can match that consistency with truly ubiquitous connectivity.”
In recent months, Vodafone has brought several innovations to market including HD voice technology, 4G+ (using carrier aggregation) and the Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal programme aimed at giving remote communities mobile coverage for the first time. Last year the operator announced it was investing £2 billion into their network throughout 2014/15 and it’s clear to see the funding is being put to good use, but it needs to continue…
Mark Windle, Head of Marketing at OpenCloud, said: “Agility is required throughout the life-cycle, not just at the start: operators will need to continue to adapt and evolve their services over time to meet changing technical and customer requirements. Minimising initial costs when launching WiFi calling by implementing fixed hardware solutions may be tempting, but early savings are likely to fall short of the total saving and additional value delivered by flexible, adaptable solutions.”
What do you think about WiFi calling solutions? Let us know in the comments.