back to article Every bloody gadget in the house is ringing. Thanks, EE

"Do not think your house is a hide-out, it is a telephone," complained Ted Hughes in his poem Do Not Pick Up The Telephone, and EE is helping bring that dystopian vision to life. The mobile giant today launched a virtualised number service called Smartnumber, which can transfer calls intended for your primary mobile number to …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they could fix their fucking billing first ?

    Just an idea.

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      "The silence depressed me..."

      Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe they could fix their fucking billing first ?

      Don't be silly, that's how mobile operators work. They change the amount charged by decimal places to make as much money from us peons as they can. I used to work in the mobile industry and saw it first hand. There aren't many people that calculate their bills to the penny.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Maybe they could fix their fucking billing first ?

      You can already do all of that with Skype. Simply transfer the call to your own Skype user. The mobile client will notify you that it’s transferring the call, and you can pick up the call on another endpoint.

      1. Bavaria Blu

        Re: Maybe they could fix their fucking billing first ?

        Can you really hand off a POTS call made (formerly known as Skype out) from one device to another? Sounds useful. I have noticed Google now has POTS calling in the UK / Europe and it seems to be cheaper than Skype. These days with huge call allowances and calling through whatsapp I don't use normal telephone calls enough to worry much though

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: Maybe they could fix their fucking billing first ?

          "Can you really hand off a POTS call made (formerly known as Skype out) from one device to another?"

          Yes. It's not 100% seemless - they might get a few seconds of SfB on hold music while you transfer, but you can certainly do it.

    4. paulf Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Maybe they could fix their fucking billing first ?

      At least you still have online billing in some form.

      I'm on a very old Orange Value Plan tariff (the old Virgin EQ tariff that replicated the Virgin Mobile pay monthly plan of the early naughties - no line rental just pay for calls i.e. Pre-pay charges but with monthly billing instead of top-ups). It's an old number that I want to keep going at the lowest cost possible (I pay about £3/month for a few texts and voice mail calls) and it's handy to give to companies who demand a number as it means they don't disturb my main number. Inexplicably EE turned off the Orange online portal back in January and pushed me back to paper bills by post. How's that for progress?

  2. Blockchain commentard

    What about running it on iPod Touch devices? They're WiFi enabled and made by Apple.

    1. katrinab Silver badge

      You can make phone calls via the Facetime app if the iPod touch is on the same wifi network as an iPhone and signed in on the same Apple ID.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We've had customers (patients) giving us these numbers to contact them on - they cost a fortune to use! for the caller! they are now blocked from outgoing calls .

    1. Velv Silver badge
      Boffin

      From the EE blurb this appears to be different as it is an extension of the wifi calling and uses your existing EE mobile number. There is no additional cost to either the subscriber or the person phoning them, outbound calls coming out of your allowance or at your standard rate.

      Apple has provided a similar hand-off between devices on the same wifi for a while. It annoyed the hell out of me when the iPad rang for phone calls so it got turned off sharpish.

      (I have no connection to EE)

    2. Adam 52 Silver badge

      "We've had customers (patients) giving us these numbers to contact them on - they cost a fortune to use"

      Oh the irony. Presumably phone numbers left on the premium rate contact system after navigating a maze of "Press 5 now" options for 20 minutes only to be told nobody is available to take the call right now because they only answer phones from 10am to 10.30am.

  4. Martin-R

    This seems to have rolled out last week - the iPad suddenly announced it could make wifi calls on Thursday, and the Macbook on Friday. This the first I'd heard that it was something EE specific though!

  5. DenTheMan

    Smartnumber is old hat...

    it being called VOIP.

    We even had that on good old Windows PDAs 10+ years ago.

  6. smudge Silver badge

    in time any internet device with audio in and audio out will work

    Being built into toasters, fridges, light bulbs and sex toys right now :)

    That last one's interesting. If the thing's already vibrating, would an incoming call be signalled by regular pulses of increased intensity?

    "OhmyGod, yes, yes, YES!!! Errr, I mean.... Bagshot 1234, hello..."

    1. Scott 53
      Joke

      Re: in time any internet device with audio in and audio out will work

      In this case it will be very important to distinguish between ringtone and ring tone.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: in time any internet device with audio in and audio out will work

      Bagshot?

      That's Bilbo's dildo?

    3. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

      Re: in time any internet device with audio in and audio out will work

      I'll have what that toaster's having...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'll have what that toaster's having...

        @Dodgy Geezer

        Given that God is infinite, and that the universe is also infinite... would you like a toasted teacake?

        1. TheVogon Silver badge

          Re: I'll have what that toaster's having...

          "Given that God is infinite, and that the universe is also infinite... would you like a toasted teacake?"

          For those that don't get it / Americans:

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LRq_SAuQDec

    4. Mike Richards Silver badge

      Re: in time any internet device with audio in and audio out will work

      And then it will be a smart lightbulb calling you to pass on a message from the fridge that you're out of milk.

  7. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Thanks, but NO thanks.

    I reserve the right to receive calls on ONLY one cellphone. And most certainly won't like it if every single gadget decide to give me a tinkle in order to let me know that person X want to talk to me.

    Chances are it'll be either a cold caller, telemarketer or spammer.

    One device is easy to manage - just put it on silent and ignore its frantic buzzing. A whole host of beeping and whirring devices? Not so simple...

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Bully for you. Don't turn it on.

      For me it sounds great if I can answer my phone on my PC using my headset like I do for Skype et al, rather than having to hold the phone to my face or muck about finding a hands-free kit.

      1. Zippy's Sausage Factory

        Bully for you. Don't turn it on.

        From the sound of the other comments, it turns itself on automatically. Turning it off again might be a different matter, though.

    2. onefang Silver badge

      "And most certainly won't like it if every single gadget decide to give me a tinkle"

      Ah, but if it's your IoT dunny, then you can give it a tinkle back.

    3. Twanky

      "a cold caller, telemarketer or spammer"

      There's a difference?

  8. James 51 Silver badge

    I wonder if this will extend to working on two phones. Just got a Gemini and not sure if it will be pratical for calls but would love to be able to use it to send texts on my main number. If I have to have a second contract sim and use the internet allowance to send and receive SMS on it, then it's less useful.

  9. x 7 Silver badge

    but can you turn it off?

    you can turn this ever-present phone presence on, but can you turn if off? Can it be remotely initiated? Running your phone through your TV and potentially having it on 24/7 really does have shades of 1984

  10. A. Coatsworth
    FAIL

    any internet device with audio in and audio out will work, such as a TV

    This is the reason why we can't have nice things...

  11. joeldillon

    So it's 'an operator-specific version of Apple's FaceTime, which will make every connected iDevice in your home (Watch, iPad, iPhone or Mac) "jar out a karate screech".' - which currently only works on iDevices. That, as noted, already have FaceTime.

    What genius thought up that idea? They really needed to have an Android version of this at launch.

    1. Vince

      Not quite....

      This adds the ability for my iPad (which is on o2 as it happens) to be able to make and receive calls to/from my EE number, even when my iPhone is not on, not connected, not on the same network.

      So if you say had a BT Landline and called my mobile number, and I had run out of battery on my iPhone, but my iPad was still good, if it had connectivity (cellular - not needing to be EE... or wifi), my iPad would ring and I could take the call. For example on Saturday my iPhone was at home, I was 15 miles away and my iPad let me take a call from a non-facetime user.

      You could previously do this but only if the iPhone was connected/nearby the iPad - so the scenario I describe didn't work.

      However, a few clarifications...

      EE web site suggests this works for texts - so far, it does not work independently of the iPhone - you could already, on watch and iPad send an SMS but it would relay via iCloud and send to the iPhone to send for you - likewise receiving it. This is STILL the case now - but it's implied in various places by EE that won't be the case - but neither my watch (cellular or wifi) or my iPad can relay or receive SMS if my iPhone is not on and connected - so nothing has changed in SMS terms[1]

      [1] not to be confused with imessage which does work regardless but obviously is only of use if the other party is also an imessage user.

  12. anthonyhegedus Silver badge

    Given that the ipad already rings when a call comes in if it's on the same wifi network as the iphone, is the ipad going to ring twice? Once because it rang anyway and again because it's running the EE app? Does the EE thing even work through an app?

  13. 10forcash

    Only on Apple kit you say?

    Thanks, another reason to avoid it!

    Although to be honest, the Venn diagram of me, Apple and EE would just be three unlinked circles at the extremities of the sheet of paper...

    1. cbars
      Headmaster

      Re: Only on Apple kit you say?

      Apple and EE would still intersect, even if you were separate.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NEWS ROUND UP - JUNE 2020

    Quote: "...can transfer calls intended for your primary mobile number to any compatible internet-connected device..."

    NEWS ROUND UP - JUNE 2020

    Bristol Local News

    Today a Bristol News reader contacted us about a phone call from their video enabled front door bell. This was forwarded first to the garage door and then to their refrigerator. The refrigerator COMPLETELY misunderstood the message. The refrigerator was programmed to ensure that various items were kept in stock. Thanks to the original misunderstanding, the result was that Sainsburys delivered two hundred tubs of Rum and Raisin ice cream.

    The reader has contacted Nest, the garage door vendor, the refrigerator vendor and Sainsburys to try to sort out the mess -- without success!

    1. Stumpy

      Re: NEWS ROUND UP - JUNE 2020

      I'll be round in 10. With a VERY large spoon!

  15. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    EE WiFi calling

    Urk! I tried that once, maybe twice. A most horrible experience. Have phone, have contacts, have messages. All fine. Then have an almost indescribably bad app that's unstable, ugly, hard to use and has a different set of bloody contacts, call history and messages.

    I deleted the app, and probably deleted it from my app/play store account as well just to make doubly sure.

    1. Doc Spock

      Re: EE WiFi calling

      On my iPhone, it’s an in-built option. No separate app, so no separate contacts, call history, etc.

      It’s mildly useful when in areas of no/poor phone signal but good wi-fi signal.

  16. Blofeld's Cat

    Hmm ...

    "Beep ... The answering machine is unavailable at the moment so this is the refrigerator speaking. If you leave a message after the tone I will put it under one of my magnets."

  17. gunff

    Won't hurt

    I don't have any IoT things, but this sounds potentially useful. Anyway, it's not compulsory, so simply take it or leave it, as desired. I do find the older, existing ability to take and make calls on my iPhone or Mac or iPad useful.

    1. Richard Crossley

      Re: Won't hurt

      I don't have any IoT things and this sounds terrifying.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Marketing company, Survey you say, Connecting you to the toilet now

    Ahhh satisfying an urge, pain in the arse flushed away

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Hang up by numbers app - Re: Marketing company, Survey

      Re: Marketing company, Survey you say, Connecting you to the toilet now

      Have you ever wanted to scream at some stupid or annoying caller and then hang up ?

      But you're on the bus or in a colleagues office ?

      You need Hangup by numbers

      just press hangup and choose from 9 (nine) numbers that play sounds before hanging up.

      Someone giving you the poos, then give them the flush hangup with a number 2;

      Got some annoying spam or junk caller give them the barking dog 0

      What about your loved ones how about a cloud9 hang up after a delightful conversation

      Use the inbuilt sounds or load in your own. get the yap today !!!

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Hang up by numbers app - Marketing company, Survey

        For telemarketers, a recording of you saying "hang on, gotta answer the door", some footsteps leading into silence that lasts until they give up and hang up.

        1. Jtom Bronze badge

          Re: Hang up by numbers app - Marketing company, Survey

          That would be good, but I have actually done this: responded to the telemarketer (who had called many times previously), saying, "Hold on while I get my father. He's been wanting to get [whatever the telemarketer was selling - heating duct cleaning, I think]." Then set the phone down. The TV was going in the background, so the caller knew the phone had not been hung up.

          I checked the phone two hours later. The call had ended, and he never called again. I wonder how long the telemarketer waited....

          Ah, the fun you can have when you're retired.

  19. Chunes

    Doctor, Heal Thyself

    Funny how business wants to help us be "always on" for phone calls, notifications, push ads and so on, but they themselves do everything possible to hide their humans behind growing degrees of "customer service" automation BS.

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