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EE UK Launch New Smart Number Mobile Technology

Monday, June 11th, 2018 (10:13 am) - Score 28,796
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Mobile operator EE today claims to have become the first in the United Kingdom to launch smart number technology, which they say gives customers the ability to make and receive calls and texts using the same number across multiple devices and all “at no extra cost“.

The service appears to make use of the new Wi-Fi Calling feature that operators have been gradually rolling out over the past year. By harnessing this customers can extend their phone number to 5 other connected devices which are internet connected with either WiFi (e.g. via a public hotspot or your home broadband ISP) or mobile data (3G / 4G) connectivity.

The primary device (Smartphone) needs to be on EE, although the other devices do not need to be. If they are made or received on a device with access to EE’s network, the calls will be taken out of their voice allowance. We can already do something similar with Skype and other VoIP solutions, although being able to use your mobile number in this way would be handy.

Max Taylor, EE’s MD of Marketing, said:

“We’ve made it our mission to give our customers amazing new technologies that make the most of our award-winning network to help keep them connected, wherever they go and whatever they want to do. Our new smart number technology is a great example of how we’re helping customers to seamlessly connect their favourite devices – whether on laptops, tablets or smartwatches, even if they’re away from their smartphone.”

At present there is one early disadvantage to the new service and EE’s claim that customers can use it to “make and receive calls across their tablets, watches and laptops,” which centres around the issue of hardware support. At launch it will only be available to Apple devices (e.g. iPhones, iPads, MacBooks and the Apple Watch), although Android compatible devices will follow “at a later date.”

In the meantime customers will need to be on a EE Pay Monthly plan for their smartphone and have iOS 11.3 on an iPhone 6 or later. Paired iPads will need to be on iOS 10 (or later) and OS X El Capitan or later is required for Macs.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he is also the founder of ISPreview since 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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20 Responses
  1. baby_frogmella

    “In the meantime customers will need to be on a EE Pay Monthly plan”

    Does it include sim only monthly plans? Because I cannot find the option to switch it on my iPhone X (running latest iOS) despite following the instructions here

    https://ee.co.uk/help/help-new/offers-and-services/ee-smart-number/set-up-one-number

    Though iPhone X is not included in their list of compatible iPhone models so it may be that.

    • SSLFan

      The options aren’t present for me either (SIM only monthly plan, iPhone 6S). I only see the usual WiFi calling/calls when nearby (ie on same Wifi network) options that have been present for ages.

      My reading of this is that it’s just an extension of Wifi Calling but that calls will ring/can be made on the ‘other’ devices even when the primary device isn’t on the same Wifi network. SMS can already be forwarded to all devices signed into the same iCloud account using Text Message Forwarding – I use this quite a lot.

      Whilst this is cool, it’s not a huge change despite what the marketing bod is saying.

    • Vince

      You need carrier update 32.1 for EE (on the main device, eg the iPhone) – just check if you have that as you might not have had those options pushed to your device yet – if not, hanging around on the settings > general > about bit will help prompt it after a few minutes to look

      I set it up on Friday (had advance notice it was happening) and it’s working fine – my iPad can even with iPhone off make/receive calls etc.

    • baby_frogmella

      Yes carrier is updated to EE 32.1 but still not seeing the option ‘calls on other devices’ on my iphone X:

      screenshots

      https://s33.postimg.cc/rtlu4vnzz/IMG_0096.jpg
      https://s33.postimg.cc/bvd4er1hr/IMG_0097.jpg

  2. occasionally factual

    Do people really want their partner seeing their texts?
    And if you refuse to share them, does your partner think “mmm must be having an affair?”
    Wonder if EE will be cited in any divorce proceeding for introducing unreasonable behaviour into a marriage?

  3. Matthew

    This is a technology that has been in place on IOS for a while now. Apple call it WiFi Calling on Other Devices, AT&T and Verizon have had it enabled for a while now it is nice to see that EE has enabled it in the UK now. I have it enabled on my iPhone X I had to update Carrier Settings and then it just worked. Think EE now support all iOS features now pretty sure this was the last hold out one nice to see. Still find it funny years on that only 2 out of the 4 networks support visual voicemail.

    • Mike

      Poor show, iPhone ownership is around 15% and dropping.

      EE are desperately trying to hold onto that £60 a month idiot contract market sector with crap like this, whilst everyone rlse waits for RCE…

    • Matthew

      I will always stick to iPhone maybe i’m odd but I like how they work simple as that I tried android and came back simple as that. Maybe I do pay more but then people pay a fortune for sports and movies etc it’s personal preference.

  4. Mr Horner

    EE don’t do unlimited data so question is I love my music and I listen to it out and about so how long does 20g last

    All I want is to listen to music

  5. Dan

    Non news, handoff to an iPad on three for years
    Left EE as an ex orange customer due to shocking EE service and retarded customer service quality

    • Matthew

      This is different than before as before it needed be on same WiFi network and the phone needed be switched on at time. Now say you’ve left your phone in the car on 4G your iPad can ring long as it’s connected in some way to internet etc.

  6. RobG

    How will this work regarding privacy? For example, someone calls your number and your phone, tablet, smartwatch, alexa all ring. You pick up the phone and your wife picks up the tablet or answers alexa only to listen to you arranging your next meeting with your secret girlfriend.

    • Matthew

      Well that’s your fault I guess lol. Unless you have something to hide it’s not a issue lol

    • Another guy with a boring name

      So, you’re using the rhetoric “you have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide.” Which isn’t always the case. But here, yes this guy has something to hide, and should be scared.

    • Vince

      Only one is active on the call at once. So your wife or whomever couldn’t listen in to the call from another device at the same time.

  7. Phil

    Lets hope the Wi-Fi calling servers are up to the task of the extra traffic as they are already dropping packets and connections. I think EE customers would be surprised how often their iPhone or Android phone is having to constantly re-negotiate a connection back to EE because it keeps dropping the Wi-Fi calling connection. I’ve been connected to Wi-Fi calling all morning yet the current session is only 27 minutes old so it’s dropped in the last half hour.

    • baby_frogmella

      No issues with EE wifi calling on my iPhone X. However unlike previously, EE WC only kicks in when the cellular signal drops below a certain level – hence why you will see it coming and going frequently when in a variable signal area. Of course you can switch it off (at least on iOS)

    • Phil

      I have no signal where I am so it’s always on Wi-Fi calling. Unless you are monitoring packets you will not see it dropping constantly, as the phone will reconnect behind the scenes. I’ve just checked again on my router and can see EEs VPN (which they establish to route Wi-Fi calls over) has an uptime of only 17 minutes. It’s been dropping off all day. Sometimes, usually overnight it will run without dropping, so into the tens of hours, but during the day its a different story. Android sometimes gives up reconnecting if several attempts have failed so calls will go through to voicemail. They currently have just 4 servers handling Wi-Fi calling, in contrast their website has 8 servers. (We don’t know the specs of these servers of course).

      My assumption is Apple have changed Wi-Fi calling to prefer the mobile connection because their telemetry data is showing poor reliabilty with Wi-Fi calling, probably they’ve seen it dropping constantly as well.

  8. TheMatt

    Meanwhile O2 has just killed off TuGo which let you log in on 5 devices and make and receive calls on WiFi or 3G/4G.

    They killed it off in favour of wifi calling .. on one device.. and that device has to be running the o2 operator firmware only. And only certain phones. Complete shambles.. bring back TUGO!!

  9. Tim Sneller

    So why roll out a service which is only available to about 15% of users. Absolutely stupid choice, and seems to be desiugned to annoy people.

    Either roll it out for ANdroid first, or do BOTH together.

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