What is Wi-Fi calling?

Not sure what Wi-Fi calling is or how it works? Here’s the Confused.com guide to everything you need to know about Wi-Fi calling, including how to switch it on.

Women holding phone walking down street

With Wi-Fi calling you can make calls and send texts over a Wi-Fi connection rather than the 4G or 5G signal you would normally use. Most Wi-Fi networks are compatible with Wi-Fi calling, including your home Wi-Fi and public Wi-Fi, like the kind you might find in a coffee shop.

If you’re somewhere with no signal, like an underground train station, but you are connected to Wi-Fi, you can still make calls and send texts.

If you’re not sure what 4G or 5G is, check out our 5G guide.

When you have Wi-Fi calling switched on, your device will automatically find the strongest network after you dial. Your phone will then route the call through the strongest network, whether that’s mobile or Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi calling is also known as internet calling.

For Apple products:

Go to Settings > Phone > Wi-Fi Calling and toggle the switch on.

You can also go to Settings > Mobile Service > Wi-Fi Calling and toggle the switch on. Both methods do exactly the same thing.

For Android products:

Open the Phone app > More options icon > Settings and toggle the switch on.

For a shortcut, swipe down twice to reveal the Quick settings panel and then tap the Wi-Fi calling button to switch it on.

Not necessarily. Calls and texts made over Wi-Fi will use up your existing data allowance on whatever plan you have. If you exceed your data allowance, standard call and text rates will apply.

Not sure if you are on the right plan? Find out how much mobile data you need.

  • No need for other apps - One of the best bits about internet calling is that you don’t need to install any other apps. All you need to do is switch on Wi-Fi calling in your phone settings.
  • Better signal at home - If you live in an area witha weak or spotty phone signal, you could get a better signal when making phone calls. You are also a lot closer to your Wi-Fi router than you are to the nearest mobile phone tower. In some rural areas, you can be up to 50 miles from the nearest mobile phone tower.
  • Conserve your battery - When your phone is constantly searching for a network signal, it can drain your battery. But, with Wi-Fi calling, it takes up a lot less battery for your phone to find and connect to a Wi-Fi signal.

There are a few downsides to Wi-Fi calling:

  • Unreliable signal strength - Wi-Fi calling can be a great option while you’re at home. However, it might not be so good in public settings. If you are somewhere with lots of people, like a café or airport, the quality of your connection might suffer.
  • Wi-Fi hotspots are not always available - Although there are many publicly available hotspots in most places, you are not guaranteed to always be within range of one.
  • Relies on your data plan - Internet calling doesn’t cost anything as long as you keep within your data plan. If you are using Wi-Fi calling without realising it, you may find that you have exceeded your data allowance and have to pay additional charges.

There are many networks in the UK that offer Wi-Fi calling:

Network Offers Wi-Fi calling?
Asda Mobile
BT Mobile
iD Mobile
Lyca Mobile
Plusnet Mobile
Sky Mobile
Smarty Mobile
Tesco Mobile
Virgin Mobile

Table showing UK networks and whether they offer Wi-Fi calling

If you’re with giffgaff, Lyca or Plusnet it might be time to consider switching network provider so you can enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi calling. Follow our advice on how to get the best mobile network deal.