We've all experienced ropey reception at one time or another. Those frustrating moments when you really need to make a call, but the line just won't connect, or you're left trying to decipher broken, distorted responses from the other person. Now, following EE, Three and O2, Vodafone has announced plans to offer WiFi-enabled calls in the UK. Three and O2 have already launched their respective services, but to use them you need to have a dedicated app installed on your smartphone. EE is trialling a service that doesn't rely on any extra software, and today Vodafone says it'll be using a similar approach. So in theory, it'll work quietly in the background with minimal input. Provided you're connected to a WiFi network, calls will switch over automatically when you're out of network coverage.
In addition, Vodafone plans to launch Voice over LTE (VoLTE) this summer, which will see traditional calls carried over a 4G connection. None of the major UK carriers offer this yet, although EE and Three have hinted they want to do the same in 2015. If Vodafone can beat them to it, or roll-out a superior WiFi calling service, it would be a huge feather in its cap. The network has always had a reputation for top-notch coverage, which attracts business customers that regularly travel up and down the country. Such selling points could prove important when BT completes its acquisition of EE, and if Three UK's owner Hutchison Whampoa snatches up O2. Some powerful mobile players are teaming up at the moment, and Vodafone is going to need every weapon in its arsenal to keep competing.