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What is Voice Over LTE?

Uday Parida

Long-Term Evolution (LTE) was initially launched as a wireless broadband communication standard for mobile devices and data terminals. It required operators to transmit voice in several ways – using various forms of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) or reverting to 2G/3G systems. But voice over LTE (VoLTE) enables operators to transmit data as well as route voice calls using 4G LTE networks.

According to the GSM Association, “VoLTE stands for Voice over Long Term Evolution. Utilising IMS technology, it is a digital packet voice service that is delivered over IP via an LTE access network. Voice calls over LTE are recognised as the industry-agreed progression of voice services across mobile networks, deploying LTE radio access technology.

Voice over LTE enables operators to deliver high-quality and simultaneous voice and data services to a variety of devices over 5G, LTE, and Wi-Fi networks. The operators can use VoLTE as the high-speed wireless standard for a wide range of devices – laptops, smartphones, tablets, wearable devices, televisions, data terminals, and internet of thing (IoT) devices.

The digital package technology further creates opportunities for the operators to offer both individual and enterprise subscribers with better call experience and a slew of new services. In addition to offering new services, the operators can use VoLTE to modernize and optimize their existing voice services. Several market research reports suggest a consistent increase in the demand for VoLTE across the world.

According to a market forecast report released by Mordor Intelligence,

The Voice over LTE (VoLTE) market was valued at USD 3.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 133.57 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 56.57% over the forecast period 2020 – 2025.

There are several reasons why operations have been using digital package technology to launch new services and modernize existing services.

How Voice over LTE Helps Operators to Offer New Services and Modernize Existing Services?

Deliver Next-Generation Voice Service

The VoLTE platform supports a slew of advanced speech codecs – wireless AMR-WB, and wireless AMR-NB, and evolved voice service (EVS). EVS makes VoLTE effective in delivering voice quality that is superior to HD voice calls. Also, the high data transfer rate supported by the technology ensures that superior voice quality is not impacted over relatively slower networks like 3G. Many operators already leverage VoLTE to acquire new customers and reduce customer churn by delivering HD quality voice calls.

Facilitate Multi-Device Communication

In addition to supporting HD+ voice quality, VoLTE facilitates high-speed wireless communication between many devices – smartphones, tablets, laptops, data terminals, wearables, and IoT devices. Also, a subscriber can transfer data and make voice calls simultaneously. The operators can leverage this feature to launch a slew of new services – simultaneous voice and video calling, multi-device call transfer, and multiple phone numbers on the same phone.

Simultaneous Data and Voice Services

Unlike 2G and 3G mobile networks, VoLTE allows users to access voice and data services simultaneously. While using a device that supports VoLTE, a subscriber can surf data while making voice calls. At the same time, the data package technology reduces setup time for supplementary cellular services to around 1.5 seconds. Hence, a subscriber can access and launch a slew of supplementary services – chats, multimedia messaging, and file transfers – instantly and seamlessly while making HD+ quality calls.

Enable Wi-Fi Calling

Many subscribers these days prefer Wi-Fi connections to cellular connections while making voice and video calls. Wi-Fi calling does not require the subscribers to use talk time and leverage LTE data fully. There are a large number of subscribers that opt for devices and cellular connections that allow them to switch to the Wi-Fi network effortlessly while making voice or video calls. VoLTE helps operations to facilitate seamless Wi-Fi calling by improving indoor voice coverage. Also, the subscribers can switch between the Wi-Fi network and the LTE network without affecting or interrupting the voice or video call.

Make Video Calls Interoperable Across Networks

The lockdowns and shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made video calls and video conferencing an integral part of modern life. But video services, unlike voice services, are not interoperable across networks and operators. Many subscribers these days look for options and plans that enable them to make video calls without any interruptions to other networks. VoLTE creates opportunities for operators to make video services interoperable. The operators must collaborate to ensure seamless and interoperable video service delivery.

Extend Devices’ Battery Life

Each generation of wireless communication networks focuses on making devices and networks energy-efficient. Like 5G, VoLTE also helps end-users to extend the battery life of their devices without putting extra time and effort. In comparison to VoIP, VoLTE is effective in increasing device battery life by 40%. The feature enables end-users to make voice calls and carry out online activities simultaneously while staying outdoors. They can access their favorite cellular services without worrying about extending the device’s battery life.

Launch Innovative Calling Services

The simultaneous data and voice service accessibility enabled by VoLTE creates many new opportunities and use cases for operators. The operators can leverage the feature to offer customized and innovative packages for enterprise customers. Also, they can use IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) as the basic foundation to launch next-generation digital services that enable subscribers to make voice calls without downloading specific apps, share information during voice calls and group calls, and exchange high-quality video and audio messages.

Free up the Spectrum

Many network operators already leverage VoLTE to free up the spectrum. They use cloud-based VoLTE networks to free up the spectrum and utilize the freed-up radio wave to expand 4G and LTE services. VoLTE further helps telecom companies to use the freed-up radio wave to prepare the foundation for 5G deployments and launch next-generation cellular services. The decline in spectrum utilization helps operations to boost the quality of LTE services by adding both speed and capacity to the existing network.

The demand for VoLTE has been increasing consistently across the world. Some operators use digital data package technologies to offer high-quality voice calls, while others use VoLTE to launch innovative calls and data services. But the telecom network operators must use new network equipment, upgrade the radio network, and upgrade components in the core network to leverage VoLTE to boost customer experience and generate more revenue.

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