Phone calls made from mobiles usually use the network of mobile signal masts you see dotted around the countryside and throughout cities.
However, as you'll have discovered, the reception you get can often be patchy, especially in rural areas or deep inside buildings.
That’s where Wi–Fi calling comes in, where you can make a phone call over a broadband connection.
Quite simply, Wi–Fi calling allows you to make phone calls and send text messages over wireless internet networks rather than over the 4G or 5G mobile signal that you normally use that's generated by mobile phone masts.
All sorts of Wi-Fi networks are compatible with the service. That includes the one you pay for at home, as well as public ones in coffee shops, airports and train stations.
If you are somewhere without mobile reception but with a Wi–Fi connection, such as an underground station, you only need to connect your smartphone to the network to make a call. It's that simple.
Some networks allow you to move seamlessly between Wi-Fi calling and 4G/5G calling, so your call won't drop out if you move out of Wi-Fi range.
Almost all modern smartphones can make calls over Wi–Fi. UK carriers that offer Wi-Fi calling in some form include EE, Vodafone, Three and O2.
Wi–Fi calling is easy on Vodafone, but you need to follow specific instructions to get it to work. Vodafone has a dedicated page to explain how to set it up.
Vodafone offers this service to pay monthly customers with iPhones as old as the iPhone XS all the way through to the iPhone 14 range and the latest Apple Watches.
Pay monthly customers with a Samsung Galaxy smartphone can also access Wi-Fi calling, all the way back to the Galaxy A10 up to the Z Flip phones and the S22 range.
EE's Wi-Fi calling service works for pay monthly customers on a wide range of handsets from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Sony.
There is a comprehensive guide on EE's website, with easy to follow steps that even the biggest technophobes can easily get their heads around.
So long as you have a EE 4G Calling enabled phone and you’re in an area of EE 4G cover, your call will switch between Wi-Fi and 4G (or even 5G) to prevent your call dropping out.
Three's app–free Wi–Fi calling service allows users of its network to make and take calls whenever they're in a location that has no phone signal.
It currently works with phones going back to the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, LG’s G5’s and iPhone 8. Three also allows selected Android devices to switch seamlessly between 4G and Wi-Fi with 4G Super Voice.
O2 pay monthly customers can use Wi-Fi calling provided they have an iPhone 6 or later release, or a Samsung Galaxy A42 or newer. It's also supported on Google Pixel, Huawei, Sony and Xiaomi smartphones to name a few. Check out the full list of compatible devices on O2's Wi-Fi calling explained page.
Once we’ve set you up Wi-Fi calling in your phones settings you’re good to go. There's no longer any need to download or use a dedicated app.
The FreedomPop network allows customers to make calls and send texts over the internet.
A basic plan is available for free, and the network also offers very competitive pay plans for customers needing more data.
Find out more about FreedomPop with our FAQ.
Other Wi-Fi calling apps
Popular services such as Skype, Viber and WhatsApp also offer the chance to make calls over Wi–Fi.
However, these require you to download an app and create a profile. If you want to keep things extra simple, it’s best to go with what your preferred network has to offer.
Struggling to get a strong signal for your phone? Head to our guide for a network-by-network look at mobile phone coverage.