Wednesday, 14 October 2015 11:48

Vodafone to vault into VoLTE before Christmas

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Vodafone’s going Voice over LTE, or VoLTE, in December, to postpaid customers initially on the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+ and Note 5.

No, the news is not faulty, but instead, Vodafone really is going VoLTE before Christmas 2015 in Australia - and it’s not just VoLTE that Vodafone is targeting, but ViLTE or Video over LTE, too.

Voice over LTE or VoLTE means that when 4G users are making a phone call, their calls stays on the 4G network as data packets, like a VoIP call.

This is in contrast to traditional voice calls over a non-VoLTE 4G network, where the voice call is transferred over to the 3G network first. The side effect of this is that any data used during that voice call then travels over the 3G network, too.

These days, your phone is doing a lot of things with data, all the time. Getting updates, notifications, emails, messages and more - all of which gets slowed down to 3G speeds when on a call. In addition, there are times when you need to check an app or surf the web while on a call, and this too would be a slower 3G affair, rather than a speedier 4G experience.

Vodafone Australia CTO Benoit Hannsen noted the company’s VoLTE service ‘will offer an advanced calling experience and include features such as video calling.’

Hannsen stated: “For customers with capable devices, VoLTE will mean an enhanced call experience including shorter call set up times as well as longer battery life on some smartphones.

“VoLTE not only allows users to stay on 4G during a voice call, they can also multi-task by continuing to use 4G data services such as web browsing while making or receiving a call.”

He also noted that ‘existing customers will be able to receive the settings for the feature Over The Air (OTA) if they have a capable device or via a software upgrade of their smartphone.’

Hannsen explained: “As soon as customers receive the update on their device, they’re good to go.

“We expect the number of customers with VoLTE-capable devices to increase rapidly over the next few years as more smartphone manufacturers incorporate the feature into new models,” and said ‘the launch of 4G voice and video calling represented a generational change for the Vodafone network.’

Hannsen added: “It’s a really exciting change for the network, as this is the first step to moving all voice traffic over to 4G,” he said.

“In terms of the network, VoLTE means enhanced spectral efficiency with 2.3 times more users per MHz. It will also support the re-farming of our spectrum from 3G to 4G so that we can continue to provide great data speeds as traffic grows.

“We’re continuing to invest heavily in our network to bring further enhancements, with seamless Voice over Wi-Fi one of the next features our customers can look forward to in the near future.”

Vodafone concludes with a note stating: ‘VoLTE will become available on more smartphones following launch in December and during 2016, and to all postpaid and prepaid customers next year. Future devices next year will come with VoLTE already enabled.’

After Telstra (see earlier Telstra VoLTE story here), Vodafone is the second Australian telco to offer VoLTE services to is 4G customers, which makes us wonder when Optus will also make the vault into VoLTE territory. 


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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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