You’ve got to admit, the way EE rolled out and tested VoLTE (what it calls, 4G Calling) since last year has been rather unique. But today, it has been made available throughout EE’s 4G network.

EE LogoAs an early Christmas present, iPhone users were given a taste of VoLTE last year, if living in or near Hatfield or Bristol, and enabling the 4G voice option after a carrier update.

At no point did EE officially announce or promote the customer trial, although it didn’t deny it to anyone that asked either. More recently, it created a thread on EE’s community forum for users to discuss the rollout progression.

The areas where VoLTE was made available kept increasing until today it reached 100% of EE’s 4G network.

However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t still more to do.

For one, it requires adding more handsets to the list of supported devices. But secondly, and more importantly, VoLTE allows 4G coverage to expand beyond the current 2G and 3G footprints. This will help EE achieve its ambitious goal of 95% geographic coverage by 2020.

Like VoLTE, EE has been trialling 800MHz in limited areas, although generally not for public access. When this goes live, predominantly in rural areas but also in some towns, it will make a huge difference to indoor coverage and performance.

EE will prioritise 800MHz 4G above 3G, as the total opposite of how Three has opted to configure its network. Thus, EE will connect in the following order: 2600MHz 4G, 1800MHz 4G, 800MHz 4G, 2100MHz 3G – and then 2G. Three has its network set as 1800MHz 4G, 2100MHz 3G and then 800MHz 4G as a ‘last resort’.

How you can use 4G calling on EE

Only a limited number of handsets can be used with 4G Calling, and only available EE customers on a pay monthly consumer or business plan can use it too, meaning pay as you go users miss out. For now at least.

EE will now need to work on introducing support for more devices, including handsets purchased elsewhere and brought over to EE’s network. This also includes adding Wi-Fi Calling, which is just as important as VoLTE for offering better indoor coverage.

The 4G Calling compatible devices list is currently as follows:

Don't forget to activate Voice access on 4G (LTE) [Screen from US iPhone]
Don’t forget to activate Voice access on 4G (LTE) [Screen from US iPhone]
  • iPhone 6, 6 plus, 6S, 6S plus and iPhone SE (purchased anywhere, service must be turned on by user in the settings menu)
  • Lumia 550, 650, 950 and 950 XL (purchased anywhere, turned on by default)
  • BlackBerry Priv (purchased from EE only, turned on by default)
  • Sony Xperia X (purchased from EE only, turned on by default)

As you can see, for everyone but iPhone users, VoLTE will now be working straight away without you having to do anything – although make sure you have checked for a firmware update. It really is that simple!

Please let me know your experiences with 4G calling so far. Have you been able to hang on to a call when moving from 4G to 2G/3G (or vice versa) or from Wi-Fi calling to 4G? Have you found yourself able to use 800MHz already from one of the test sites? How good has the call quality been?

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Written by Jonathan Morris

Writing about technology, with a focus on mobile, since the early 1990s! Former editor of What Mobile magazine, writer for The Telegraph, Stuff, Know Your Mobile, Pocket Gamer, Smart TV Radar and more. Regular Tweeter, occasional YouTuber, keen amateur photographer and forum moderator. If you like what I write, please consider deactivating your ad blocker or making a donation via PayPal to help fund this site.

8 comments

  1. I’ve been able to access VoLTE on EE for a while now in my area by turning off wifi during a wifi call, the call would hand over seamlessly to VoLTE. Of course now that’s now longer required and I can make and receive calls over 4g as standard.

    EE may not have been the first operator in the UK to roll out VoLTE, (Three did that) but EE are certainly the ones to have done it properly. On Three you have to be pretty lucky to be on the 800mhz layer to place a VoLTE call where as on EE the band doesn’t matter, if it’s 4g it’s VoLTE.

    In practice I’ve found that the service works flawlessly and I’m eagerly awaiting the 1800mhz power increase.

    Like

    1. The Z5 isn’t one of the supported handsets, yet.

      I am sure in due course, EE will announce details on how owners of the Z5, S7, G5, HTC 10 etc can update their software to get VoLTE access.

      For now, it’s limited to the iPhone, some Lumia models, the BlackBerry Priv and Sony Xperia X (the latter two supplied by EE).

      Like

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