This post was written by Dr. Femi Adeyemi, LTE Solutions Architect at Fujitsu Network Communications
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is considered by many to be a revolutionary application, for both mobile operators and their subscribers: Operators, once they establish VoLTE networks, will no longer have to maintain separate networks—circuit-switched for voice and packet-switched for data. As a result, they will see savings in both operational and capital expenses. Subscribers who use VoLTE will be able to use high quality voice and data applications simultaneously, while enjoying greater clarity in voice calls.
However, VoLTE deployment has been slower than anticipated due to several challenges…
- The successful roll out of the high definition HD voice and video calling service that promises high quality data and clearer voice calls requires VoLTE technology to be simultaneously available within the mobile network core as well as in mobile handsets. At this point, most mobile operators’ core infrastructures are not fully equipped to simultaneously support circuit-switched and packet voice. In addition, VoLTE-enabled handsets are not widely available today.
- VoLTE promises to move wireless calls from the legacy circuit-switched network to the all-IP-based LTE network, but the formidable task of supporting both switched-circuit and packet-based technologies is not economical for mobile operators in markets where LTE is not yet deployed. What’s more, mobile operators have not completely fleshed out VoLTE call interoperability issues to support customers who are roaming.
- Finally, VoLTE’s successful deployment depends heavily on nationwide deployment of LTE technology and the adoption of LTE-based small cells for in-building voice enhancements. At this point, the adoption of LTE-based small cells for residential and enterprise applications is still very low.
Despite these challenges, numerous efforts are underway to ensure the promise of VoLTE is realized. To expedite the nationwide rollout of VoLTE, several leading mobile operators have begun limited trials in major markets to test voice quality and equipment interoperability. Additionally, suppliers are slowly rolling out VoLTE-enabled handsets; and a consortium of mobile operators is negotiating roaming agreements for smooth transitions during inter-network operations.
The potential long-term benefits of VoLTE to operators and consumers alike easily outweigh any temporary intermediate setbacks.
About the Author
Dr. Femi Adeyemi is the Lead LTE Solutions Architect at Fujitsu. In this role, he is responsible for engaging wireless operators and partners in the Wireless and Small Cells Ecosystem. He is a 3GPP expert with design, development and deployment experience, and over 20 years in the wireless communications industry. Femi holds BS, MS, and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering.