Telstra has announced that it has commenced rolling out VoLTE support for its 4G network, in a network briefing to industry insiders earlier today.
The first customers to get switched over to VoLTE (which stands for Voice over LTE) on Telstra will be post-paid consumers, and they’ll experience a new way for voice calls to connect. Historically, voice calls on mobile resembled (somewhat) the way voice calls were made on traditional, landline networks; they were ‘circuit switched’, meaning that voice was carried very differently to data. Today’s technologies facilitate “packet switched” calling, which treats voice signal as data, allowing it to use the same big pipe. In simple terms, VoLTE will make calls over Telstra’s 4G network instead of its legacy 3G network.
Telstra’s Mike Wright, Group Managing Director for Networks, tells us:
4G Calling allows customers to maintain a full 4G experience during a call. This means voice and data stay on the same part of the network, therefore delivering faster data access while using the internet as well as super-fast call set up times. So, if you love to walk and talk, or browse the internet and talk, or even email and talk then you’re in for a treat. We think it’s a multi-tasker’s dream! And there is more, we haven’t just enabled HD calling on the wireless network, if you make a call to a Telstra NBN service with a HD handset or to any of our business and enterprise services using HD IP Telephony handsets you will also be talking in full HD.
This is seriously exciting because it’s only the beginning. We can now link the future for voice to the world of multi-media which will enable new and interesting applications and call flexibility, including a path to native voice calling over WiFi (VoWiFi) allowing a seamless handset experience, video calling over LTE (ViLTE) and even higher definition audio.
The rollout of VoLTE will be staggered, as you’d expect, to make sure that the changeover is seamless for all customers. Consumers will be first, and different call types will be enabled progressively. 4G to 4G calls will come first, followed by 4G to fixed, 4G to 3G, and so on. Post paid consumers will lead the charge, followed by business, enterprise and then pre-paid customers down the track.
Telstra says the rollout will be done by customer segment rather than by geographic area, so VoLTE will be available across the network for each group as they are switched across. Customers won’t really notice anything significantly different, except their handsets will remain on 4G, and call connection times may be a bit quicker.
Not all phones are compatible with VoLTE; Telstra quotes the new iPhone 6s / 6s Plus, Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and S6 Edge+ as compatible, though there are likely a good number more on the market which will support the change. Telstra is leading the charge here, being the first VoLTE-enabled 4G network provider in Australia.
We look forward to trying out the new service soon and letting you know how it works!