Eir making "WiFi calling" a reality

No separate app required...

Eir making "WiFi calling" a reality

Secretary of State John Kerry speaking on his cell phone at Shannon Airport in Ireland, 2014. Picture by Jacquelyn Martin AP/Press Association Images

From late February, Eir bill pay customers will be able to use their WiFi network to make calls and send texts.

According to The Irish Times, Eir will be the first Irish network to offer the function, which differs from the likes of Skype and WhatsApp in that you don't have to be signed up to a specific service to use it.

With "WiFi calling", calls and texts are made through the phone's default dialler and messenger, using your own mobile number.

However, as it is tied to your existing plan, you will still lose allocated minutes and texts when you use the service.

If you go beyond your allowance, you will then be charged at the out-of-bundle rate.

Perhaps most helpfully, it could come in handy in areas of poor mobile reception. Calls will work down to relatively low speeds with no voice quality problems. If the WiFi signal becomes too weak, the call will revert to the standard mobile network.

If you're travelling abroad, it will also allow you to call Irish numbers without being hit with expensive roaming charges.

It is another step towards the introduction of voice over LTE (VoLTE), which allows users to make and receive 4G voice calls while continuing to use data services such as web browsing.

People with Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge phones will be the first to get the service.

Sinead Morrissey, Eir's head of mobile products, told the newspaper:

"There's no need for a downloadable client, it's all integrated in the device. There's no need for a separate app. It addresses the issue where you find yourself with poor indoor coverage.

"We’re actively working with manufacturers to add more handsets to the range."

Meteor are set to shortly follow Eir in offering the service.