Three UK ditches InTouch app, launches embedded Wi-Fi calling

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UK mobile operator Three has launched app-free Wi-Fi calling, joining competitors Vodafone and EE in offering the service.

Owners of compatible devices will now be able to activate Wi-Fi calling, allowing anyone without mobile signal to connect to a Wi-Fi network and use it for calls and texts.

iOS users can activate Wi-Fi Calling in settings if they have software version 10.2 and above, while for Android users the service will be automatically installed

At launch the service will be available on the Android devices the LG G5, Samsung S6, Samsung S6 edge and the iOS devices the iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone SE, iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

The Samsung S7 and S7 edge will be compatible from mid-February.

The service replaces Three’s existing InTouch app, which also allowed calls and texts to be carried over Wi-Fi. However, users had to specifically activate the app before making a call, while the new service will be embedded in the ordinary text and call functions.

Three first launched InTouch in 2014.

Vodafone and EE also offer Wi-Fi calling without an app. Vodafone launched its embedded Wi-Fi calling in September 2015, while EE launched it in April of the same year.

O2 is now the only mobile network operator in the UK that only offers Wi-Fi calling through an app, the TU Go app launched in 2014.

[Read more: Three UK dips its toe into small cells, but wants more action from wider ecosystem]

Elsewhere in Europe, other operators are exploring the space.

Elisa launched Finland's first cloud-based voice over LTE and Wi-Fi calling services in November.

The same month, T-Mobile launched the service in Poland.