When 4G first emerged onto the mobile market, its primary function was to deliver increased data speeds. And ever since 2012, customers across the UK have been checking Facebook, watching videos and updating their Instagram feeds far quicker than ever before.
However, while mobile internet connections have gotten faster, phone calls across all networks have still been reliant on old 2G and 3G technology. Up until now, 4G networks have not been equipped to deal with voice calls. But with the release of 4G calling – also known as VoLTE – all this could change.
Now, networks are upgrading their handsets to offer 4G phone calls, resulting in better quality phone calls, faster connection times and increased reliability. So who can take advantage of this exciting new tech?
Also: BT Mobile, 1p Mobile, ASDA Mobile, Plusnet Mobile, Co-op Mobile, Delight Mobile, Virgin Mobile, Vectone Mobile
EE rolled out 4G calling across their network back in 2016, making the service available for their pay monthly, small business and large business customers. Currently, 4G calling is not available for those on pay as you go tariffs.
Also: C4C Mobile, Lycamobile, Sky Mobile, Tesco Mobile
As of 2018, 4G calling is offered to all O2 customers – including those on SIM-only contracts.
Also: iD Mobile, ROK Mobile, RWG Mobile, Tello, TPO Mobile
Currently, 4G calling is available to all Three customers at no extra charge.
Also: TalkTalk Mobile, Talkmobile, Lebara Mobile
At this time, 4G calling is available across a wide range of Vodafone plans, including their Red and Business bundles.
Bad news for virtual network users
Although it is offered across the UK’s four major mobile networks, 4G calling is not yet available on their virtual counterparts – including popular companies such as giffgaff. However, with the new technology increasing in popularity, experts predict that it will only be a matter of time before all networks upgrade their technology and make 4G calling available across the board.
Interestingly, it isn’t just your network that will affect your ability to make calls in 4G. Because the technology requires additional software to be installed, the make and model of your handset also comes into play.
Generally speaking, if you purchased your handset directly from your network over the last year or so, you’ll likely be set up and ready to make 4G calls. And if this capacity doesn’t already exist, a simple upgrade process should have you sorted. However, if you bought your smartphone somewhere else, you might not be able to upgrade to the new technology.
Got an iPhone? You’re in luck. As long as you have a newer model, the place of purchase shouldn’t matter – you’ll find that most of these handsets are compatible with 4G calling regardless.
Finally, if you’re unsure about where you stand with 4G calling, contact your network to find out more.