Vodafone has announced a successful beginning of its voice calls over 4G (commonly known as VoLTE or Voice over LTE). While the trials are commencing in Vodafone’s laboratory and with their field testing staff, we do have the promise of 4G calling later this year.
Why does VoLTE matter? At the moment, if your phone is on 4G and you want to make a call, your phone has to drop back to the 3G network, register, and then commence the call. In simple terms, you will notice a delay before your call starts, and depending on where you are and how busy the networks are, that delay can be a few seconds.
VoLTE changes that. Instead of dropping back to 3G, the call takes place over 4G, and instead of occurring as a circuit-switched voice call (as in an audio channel completely separate from data), VoLTE operates much more like a VOIP call, with the call transmitted as data instead of as audio.
Vodafone’s Chief Technology Officer Benoit Hanssen had this to say:
This is a milestone in Vodafone’s network evolution.
With VoLTE, customers will enjoy call connection times that are two to three times quicker. There’ll be virtually no lag between pressing the call button and being connected to the number you’ve dialled.
Vodafone will be one of the first to launch VoLTE in Australia. It offers the benefit of staying on 4G when receiving or making calls, offering a better data experience.
This is the next stage of our network evolution made possible through the introduction of our new core network. We will continue to innovate and offer our customers a world-class mobile experience.
Vodafone has also referred to a number of existing, on-market handsets compatible with the new service, including Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and Note 4, Apple’s iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, down to Huawei’s budget handset the Ascend Y550. Informally, we know there’s a few other handsets floating around at the moment which support VoLTE as well, and many more that can have VoLTE support added with a firmware update.