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Mobile Operator Lebara UK Add WiFi Calling and 4G Calling

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022 (8:32 am) - Score 4,104
Lebara mobile uk

Mobile network operator Lebara, which harnesses Vodafone’s Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) platform, has begun contacting their existing customers to inform them that they’ve finally started rolling out two popular service features – Wi-Fi Calling and 4G Calling (VoLTE).

The 4G Calling service is just a marketing term for Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology, which simply means that any calls you make or receive will stay on the 4G network rather than dropping back to 3G or 2G. Meanwhile, WiFi Calling enables consumers with a supported Smartphone to harness their home broadband ISP or other WiFi connection to make mobile voice calls, instead of using your mobile network.

NOTE: There’s no extra charge for using Wi-Fi or 4G Calling. All calls you make will come out of your UK minutes allowance if you have a plan, or will be charged at standard PAYG rates if you do not have an active plan.

Until now, it wasn’t clear when Lebara would start to introduce the new features, but that just changed. In a brief email to customers this week, the operator said: “We are very pleased to share that WiFi Calling and 4G Calling (VoLTE) is now available on the Lebara network. We are rolling out the service in phases and you are one of our first customers to be able to use this feature” (credits to one of our readers, Gareth, for sharing the email).

At the time of writing, it’s not clear how long this rollout will take to complete, but we should point out that new customers who have just activated their SIM may need to wait up to 7 days for both features to become available (the operator will usually notify you).

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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32 Responses
  1. Smythe says:

    Just leaves Giffgaff and Tesco Mobile with no WiFi calling or VoLTE.

    1. phoenixw says:

      Not really surprising given that they’re using O2 and O2’s bizarre relationship with both technologies, they wouldn’t support it on many VoLTE capable phones they sold themselves until about 2020.

    2. Jenny Preston says:

      Just a heads up it only works on some phones. For example OnePlus is not supported. EE wifi calling it works on all phones while Vodafone (Lebara) limit only to phone models they sale.

  2. Ryan says:

    I’m starting to really like Lebara. I use it as my second sim in my phone. They still do EU roaming too which is nice.

    1. Jammie says:

      They are an underrated network to be honest.

    2. Yatta! says:

      @Ryan: Lebara’s pst Brexit EU roaming terms are not fantastic, customers are only permitted to use their allowance up to a maximum of recent domestic usage.

      In my family’s experience roaming usage is higher than domestic, especially for longer trips.

      It’s better than nothing, however as a Lebara customer under the current terms and conditions I’ll be buying local SIMs when abroad.

    3. Dan says:

      @Yatta

      That’s slightly concerning.. I’m going to Europe for a few days mid July, and was planning on activating and porting my number to a Lebara SIM a few days before I go (and then staying on Lebara once I’m back in the UK, as the deal I found is really good value).

      Will have to see how I get on. Worst case scenario, if Lebara prevent me roaming under their fair use policy, I can activate an Airalo eSIM to cover my trip for about £4. It would just mean I’d then maybe switch away from Lebara to a network with a less restrictive fair use policy before I next went to Europe.

    4. John Smith says:

      My read of Lebara’s current EU roaming policy is that they look at UK vs EU data usage over a 4 month period. I.e. using more roaming than domestic data in a single month shouldn’t be a problem. I hope this is the case, because I plan on using Lebara data for a one month trip mostly outside the UK, after which the SIM will be discarded.

  3. Yatta! says:

    You’re a bit late with this old news Mark.

    Lebara enabled on Wi-Fi calling and VoLTE weeks ago..

    What is a slightly odd though is that their network is identified as “Vodafone WiFiCall” when it’s enabled.

    Though I do not have experience of Wi-Fi calling on other MVNOs to know if they are similarly identified by their host network.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      You mean they ‘started’ enabling it earlier this month, the rollout has not finished. But if you find these things out sooner, then please drop me an email, as otherwise I won’t know (the operators don’t tend to issue press releases for all these changes).

    2. Yatta! says:

      @Mark: See Jammie‘s comment at 12:18.

    3. Mark Jackson says:

      I said email. There are so many mentions via Twitter that, after an hour, any new activity notices will get pushed down and missed off the summary page (direct messages work better). I spend most of my time working on the site, not on social media.

    4. Dan says:

      I suspect the reason it says ‘Vodafone WifiCall’ will be that the network name to display when connected to wifi calling is part of the carrier profile on iOS, and that Lebara perhaps doesn’t have their own carrier profile, so Vodafone’s is being used.

      I’d also guess this is why, some time ago, the network name displayed on Three when connected to wifi calling changed from ‘Three WifiCall’ to just ‘WifiCall’ – presumably so that Smarty could share the Three carrier profile without their customers seeing ‘Three’ in the network name when connected to wifi calling.

    5. Bubblesthefish6 says:

      @Dan You are correct with 3. I used SMARTY on an iPhone way back when WiFi call first released on smarty and it did indeed display “Three WiFi Call” for some ammount of time till the three profile was updated. The iPhone 5s and 5c both still display Three WiFi Call for smarty as they were never updated.

    6. Dan says:

      @bubblesthefish6

      Thanks bubbles, I hadn’t been aware there was a time when Smarty users saw ‘Three WiFiCall’.

  4. Anon says:

    I wish Vodafone would allow WiFi Calling on all capable handsets, Vodafone in other countries manage it no problem, I don’t see why UK has to be different.

    1. Paul says:

      It is active on my work mobile

  5. Jammie says:

    I tweeted this last week and had no reply from ISPReviews Twitter account.
    Good News Though

  6. Steve says:

    I received a text about a month back saying I was due to be one of the first, but wi-fi calling isn’t an option on my handset. It was before when I was on Three, my handset is capable but it seems there are others with a similar issue (mainly Google Pixel and Honor handsets), I sent them a live chat about it but that didn’t change anything either.

    1. Mike80 says:

      Sadly, Vodafone’s WiFi calling doesn’t work on as many phones as Three or EE.

      And customer service teams at Vodafone and Vodafone MVNOs are useless at conveying that information or providing any actual solutions (apart from sending you around the houses, or making out you’ve done something wrong.)

      The only way to guarantee that your Android phone will work with Vodafone’s WiFi calling service is to buy your phone from Vodafone.

      (This also applies to Voxi, Asda and Vodafone itself.)

    2. Steve says:

      They need to get good at this then – 3G is set to be switched off next year so surely they have to change this?

    3. Allan says:

      Yup, Pixel 5 and WiFi calling not showing as an option for me despite receiving the email about it being activated.

    4. Fido says:

      @Allan Same issue here with WiFi calling on on Pixel 4a, but at least Mobile Voice Network Type is showing as 4G in settings.

  7. John says:

    When will the rollout be completed

  8. Stuart says:

    Plusnet via EE still do not offer either of these features as far as I am aware. As an old fogie of 44, I still do make voice calls and find that my phone has to hunt between 3G and 2G to do this. The result is often lost calls or calls failing to connect. As I have read here that EE is looking to switch off their legacy 3G network over the next year, unless Plusnet enable these features I assume the voice coverage will deteriorate as I will be reliant on 2Galone for voice. I find the 4G coverage generally good and you-pays-your-money-and-takes-your-choice I guess. When I raised this issue with Plusnet technical support a few weeks ago, the person I spoke to seemed to have no idea what I was on about and said I should use Whatsapp. Obviously that is fine if you are calling someone who has Whatsapp….less so if you are calling anyone else.

  9. DaveDS1977 says:

    Bit of a tangent but on the thumbs up front for Lebara UK I can confirm there is free WhatsApp (and Google location works) in South America (roaming with Claro). Might well be just because lots of telcos there offer free WhatsApp / Spotify / Facebook / YouTube with their plans but still good.

  10. Nicky J says:

    I Joined Lebara from EE a couple of months ago after googling if Lebara had WiFi calling, it said they did so I joined but to my dismay discovered no wi-fi calling facility(only in Switzerland!!). The signal in my area is poor on all networks but Vodafone’s is about the best so when I was home (using home wi-fi) I downgraded my network settings to 3g could make calls throughout the house while browsing using the WiFi , I realise this was tiresome and when talk mobile anounced WiFi calling and volt roll out I was planning on a move to them as they also use the Vodafone network .Then by happenstance when scrolling my call settings found the WiFi calling toggle had reappeared, I switched this on and now receive WiFi calling with Lebara but strangely had no notification of this from the network themselves !!, Anyhow I’m happy now and staying with Lebara, just wish they’d have told me.

  11. MikeP says:

    But no SMS support over WiFi calling as it’s Vodafone I guess.
    For me, and I suspect many, that’s the major utility of WiFi calling, particularly since the advent of SCA.

    1. Dan says:

      Vodafone added SMS support to WiFi calling at the start of 2021.

  12. Jill says:

    I was just about to switch to Lebaras £1.99 for 6 months 12GB deal, but I see it says there is no wifi calling or 4g calling volte, I’m not sure whether to continue if it doesn’t have that? I have Smarty at the moment which I am very happy with and has the above, but it’s £10 a month which is a lot when I don’t use the phone often. Would be grateful for any advice.

  13. Pixel 5 owner says:

    Pixel 5 (5G) owner here. I had WiFi calling and VoLTE working when with Vodafone, but isn’t available since I switched to Lebara.

    Any other Lebara Pixel users have it working?

  14. Cancunia says:

    Likewise, I have WiFi calling working via Vodafone UK, also on Three UK, but when I put a Lebara SIM in my Pixel 4 yesterday, no WiFi calling option. I called Lebara and was told it needed to be provisioned which would take up to 72 hours and I’d get a message when ready.

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