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Virgin Media has launched a Wi-Fi service that enables customers to make unlimited phone calls from their smartphone by using their home phone plan.

Dubbed SmartCall, the service-cum-app allows consumers to use their Virgin Phone inclusive calls allowance on their handsets, “regardless of wherever they are and no matter which mobile operator they use”.

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This applies in the UK and for calls made from overseas to Blighty, offering Britons the chance to escape the punitive roaming call charges of the sort that have long been a staple fixture of horror stories in newspapers' personal finance sections.

The app, which will be made available to select customers over the next few weeks, detects when a call over Wi-Fi using customers’ home phone talk plan is possible.

The carrier plans to make the service available to all Virgin Media subscribers early next year.

Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com, said: "SmartCall is genuinely innovative. Not only does it bring the perks of home phone bundles on your mobile in the form of free minutes, but it also means that thousands of smartphone users could slash their monthly mobile bills.

“What’s more, you don’t have to be a Virgin Media mobile customer to benefit from this.”

He added: “The one issue is that the SmartCall app does rely on finding a Wi-Fi connection, which means smartphone users won't be able to take advantage of their landline minutes wherever they are.

“But being able to enjoy free calls to those back home when you’re on holiday, could more than make up for this inconvenience.”

The launch of SmartCall coincides with Virgin Media’s launch of talk plan that offers unlimited calls to all UK mobiles for £15 per month.

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