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Disadvantages of Wi-Fi Calling in the UK: Why It Can't Replace Mobile Connection

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With advancing digitalization and the everyday use of the Internet, it is only natural that companies thought about using Wi-Fi to replace or at least supplement the existing cellular networks. For more than a decade, Wi-Fi has been an integral part of our everyday life. It was supposed to be an affordable and dependable alternative and was considered a win-win solution due to the wide adoption of smartphones. However, despite its numerous benefits, Wi-Fi Calling has not managed to fully replace mobile connections in the UK. So, what factors have shifted Wi-Fi Calling to a supporting role rather than a primary means of everyday communication?

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the pros and cons of Wi-Fi Calling in the UK, revealing why it can't replace traditional mobile connections. Moreover, we will explore strategies to overcome the Wi-Fi Calling limitations and drawbacks, ensuring your communication needs are entirely met.

What is Wi-Fi Calling?

Before we describe what are the disadvantages of Wi-Fi Calling, you should first understand how it works and the purpose of this service. Wi-Fi Calling is a feature that allows you to make and receive phone calls over a Wi-Fi network instead of relying solely on cellular 4G or 5G networks. It emerged as a result of advancements in wireless technology and the need for convenient and wireless connectivity.

Purpose of Wi-Fi Calling

Wi-Fi Calling started gaining popularity around the mid-2010s as smartphones and mobile networks began supporting this feature. The increasing prevalence of Wi-Fi networks and the demand for improved call quality and coverage in areas with weak cellular signals further contributed to its popularity. 

The expansion of Wi-Fi networks and the increasing number of mobile devices with Wi-Fi capabilities created an opportunity to utilise the Internet for voice communication. Telecommunication carriers recognised this potential and developed Wi-Fi Calling as a feature to enhance the calling experience for their customers, providing them with an alternative means of making and receiving calls in situations where mobile network coverage was inadequate.

Besides improved call quality and coverage, particularly in areas with weak or no cellular signal, Wi-Fi Calling also made international calls cheaper.

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How Does Wi-Fi Calling Work?

In terms of user experience, Wi-Fi calling and regular phone connection offer similar functionality, allowing users to make and receive calls, access voicemail, and use other phone features. However, the underlying technology and network used for transmitting the calls differ.

Regular phone calls, also known as mobile calls, utilise a mobile phone tower and other mobile network infrastructure to establish and maintain the call. The voice data is transmitted through the mobile network's dedicated frequencies.

On the other hand, Wi-Fi Calling utilises an Internet Wi-Fi connection over a Wi-Fi network to transmit voice data using Voice over IP (VoIP) technology. The voice data is converted into digital packets and transmitted over the internet, allowing for improved call quality and coverage within a Wi-Fi network’s range.

Disadvantages of Wi-Fi Calling in the UK

Despite the many advantages Wi-Fi Calling capabilities offer, it still fails to replace the mobile networks in the UK. If you are thinking of implementing Wi-Fi Calling as your primary communication solution, here are the disadvantages of using Wi-Fi Calling on your mobile phone you should keep in mind:

1. Dependency on a Stable Internet Connection

One of the key disadvantages of Wi-Fi Calling lies in its reliance on a Wi-Fi and Internet connections, since the performance of this service is directly affected by the quality and stability of the Wi-Fi network and Internet connection. A weak signal strength of Wi-Fi or poor Internet connection can lead to dropped calls, poor call quality, or difficulty establishing connections.

2. Limited Device Support

Another disadvantage of using Wi-Fi as your primary communication channel is that it may not be available on all mobile devices or across all network providers. Some older or budget smartphones may not support this feature. So, if you don’t own an iPhone or a smartphone on Android of the latest model with Wi-Fi Calling capabilities, you won’t be able to use this feature.

3. Limitations in SMS message reception

One of the most important factors to consider is Wi-Fi Calling's limited ability to receive SMS messages. While this service enables you to make voice calls, it doesn’t support the full range of SMS functionalities, making it impossible to receive critical SMS messages like one-time passwords for authentication purposes.

4. Potential Battery Drain

Using Wi-Fi Calling can consume more battery power than regular mobile calls. Your device needs to maintain a constant internet connection, which can increase battery usage and potentially shorten the battery life.

5. Call Handover Issues

When you move out of the Wi-Fi network’s range during an ongoing call, you may lose connection during Wi-Fi Calling as the call transitions to mobile networks or another Wi-Fi hotspot. Sometimes, this handover process can be inconsistent or just fail, resulting in dropped calls or poor call quality.

6. Reliance on Specific Apps or Settings

Wi-Fi Calling typically requires activating the feature on a mobile device and using supported apps or settings. It may not seamlessly integrate with all native dialler apps, leading to a potential inconvenience when making or receiving personal or business calls.

7. Potential Restrictions on International Calls

While Wi-Fi Calling can provide cost savings for international calls, some service providers may impose limitations on international dialing or charge additional fees for such calls. These restrictions hinder the convenience and affordability of Wi-Fi Calling for international communication.

8. Emergency Service Limitations

Compared to normal calls, Wi-Fi Calling can have some limitations regarding emergency calls. It might not be possible for emergency services to identify the location of the caller, resulting in higher response time and potential risks to the caller's health and safety. This is especially vital for groups that might not know their current location or have language barriers.

These are the main reasons why Wi-Fi Calling fails to provide a reliable and uninterrupted connection in most situations. While it definitely offers advantages compared to traditional phone calls, its limitations make it hard to compete with UK networks and 5G technology. Thus, Wi-Fi Calling may serve as a valuable complement to mobile connections rather than a complete substitute.

For Important Conversations — Reliable Connection

In the UK, mobile connections don’t have any of the above-mentioned Wi-Fi calling drawbacks. People continue to rely on mobile networks rather than Wi-Fi Calling due to their reliability, availability, and consistent performance. 

Unlike Wi-Fi Calling, which can be affected by varying Wi-Fi signal strength or network congestion, mobile networks provide a more stable and reliable platform for voice communication. This consistency in performance ensures clear and uninterrupted conversations.

Another Wi-Fi Calling problem that mobile networks cater to is the absence of call handover issues. Mobile networks seamlessly handle call handover when transitioning between different cellular towers or coverage areas. This means that as you move from one location to another, the network ensures a smooth transition without interrupting or dropping your ongoing calls. Where the Wi-Fi Calling handover process can be less reliable and may result in call disruptions or disconnections, mobile networks excel in providing uninterrupted communication, making them a reliable choice for users on the move.

Overall, while Wi-Fi Calling offers certain benefits, such as a cheap and reliable connection from home, it can’t fully replace a mobile connection in the UK. The main cons of Wi-Fi Calling, like the limitations in coverage, reliance on stable Wi-Fi networks, potential issues with call handover, and the unreliable signal strength of Wi-Fi, make it an unreliable option for a consistent connection. 

Wi-Fi Calling can be a great backup solution for calls from home, but it is clear that a mobile connection remains essential for consistent and uninterrupted communication, ensuring reliable connectivity across the diverse landscapes of the UK. Whether it's for seamless communication in various locations, clear voice calls, or reliable coverage in remote areas, mobile networks continue to offer a robust and dependable means of communication that surpasses the  connection of Wi-Fi Calling.

UCtel Helps in Solving and Preventing Problems with Network Performance

If you struggle to ensure a reliable connection due to the bad quality of Wi-Fi Calling in the UK, relying on mobile networks is a better solution for uninterrupted communication.  

UCtel employs advanced network monitoring and analysis tools to identify and diagnose network performance issues. By choosing UCtel, your customers will experience a significant improvement in mobile signal strength, leading to enhanced call quality, faster data speeds, and a more reliable connection. Whether for better group calls, smooth video streaming, or seamless internet browsing, UCtel empowers customers to overcome the frustrations of weak mobile signals. 

Forget about dropped audio calls, an unstable quality, frequent loss of connection during Wi-Fi calls, and other negatives of Wi-Fi calling — boost your mobile signal with UCtel today and unlock the full potential of your mobile connectivity. Experience stronger signals, better mobile network coverage, and improved video calls by partnering with UCtel, the trusted name in mobile signal-boosting solutions.


Find answer below or contact us to ask more about UCtel

What is the difference between Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi Calling?

Wi-Fi is the technology that wirelessly connects smartphones or other compatible devices to the local Internet network. Wi-Fi Calling, on the other hand, is just utilising the capabilities of Wi-Fi to make or receive phone calls.

Is it safe to use Wi-Fi Calling?

Yes, Wi-Fi Calling is generally considered safe because of its automatic voice encryption. Even if you're connected to an unsecured public Wi-Fi network, the risks of information theft are minimal. However, it's all true only for Wi-Fi Calling apps that prioritise the security of their users, so it's better to check reviews before using one.

What are the reasons for problems with Wi-Fi Calling in the UK?

Some reasons for bad Wi-Fi Calling quality in the UK include a weak or unstable Wi-Fi network, insufficient bandwidth, compatibility issues with certain devices or network providers, limitations in network coverage, and potential interference from other devices or obstacles within the environment that affect Wi-Fi signal strength.

What are the main disadvantages of Wi-Fi Calling in the UK?

The main Wi-Fi calling disadvantages in the UK include limited device support, weak Wi-Fi connection during Wi-Fi calls, potential battery drain, limited SMS support, call handover issues, potential international calling restrictions, reliance on specific apps or settings, and limitations in emergency service functionality.

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