By Malcolm Owen
Monday, January 30, 2017, 11:30 am PT (02:30 pm ET)
British carrier Three is making it easier for its subscribers to make calls over Wi-Fi when there is no cellular signal, by allowing those with iPhones to place calls and messages using the embedded Wi-Fi calling feature of iOS, instead of the mobile network’s custom app.
The carrier update is now available to customers with the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, or later generations of iPhone running iOS 10.2, and can be enabled within the Phone menu in Settings. Three now joins rival networks EE and Vodafone in offering Wi-Fi calling to its customers in the United Kingdom, using the facility built into iOS.
Three has already offered Wi-Fi calling on its network to its users, but only through a companion app. Users were able to place calls over Wi-Fi or any data connection at all using the Three inTouch app, though call histories and messaging threads were held separately from the iPhone’s own logs, and it also needed to run in the background in order to receive calls.
Users of the inTouch app are now receiving a pop-up message advising of the change, and are being told they can delete the app following the update.
The update to Wi-Fi calling may mean the app isn’t required anymore for iOS 10.2 users, but it will still be supported on the network. Support for similar Wi-Fi calling on Android has also been announced, though only for three smartphones, meaning most Android users will have to continue using their version of the app.