Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology has been championed by carriers for several years now, but the mobile ecosystem as a whole is still moving rather slowly toward commercial services. Back in 2011, for example, Verizon Wireless made the first voice call over a commercial LTE network. For AT&T, its US$14 billion Project Velocity IP expansion program that began in 2012 includes the deployment of more than 40,000 small cells, which are instrumental in strengthening its VoLTE coverage.
VoLTE technology, which is a mobility-enhanced version of basic Voice-over-IP (VoIP), is still very new, and 4G voice service needs to work as well, if not better, than what consumers are used to. Operators know there is no room for error when it comes to voice calls, and getting VoLTE right required significant development and testing efforts. But all is well now and 2013 has heralded the arrival of VoLTE services on a broader scale. In June 2013, South Korean operator SK Telecom, one of the first operators worldwide to launch VoLTE services, announced that it had more than 4.5 million active users of the technology.
As the march toward VoLTE commercialization moves forward, few consumers realize that even as network operators continue to roll out their 4G LTE coverage, the new and blazing fast LTE-enabled smartphones don’t inherently support voice calls over the LTE network, and that when a voice call is needed, networks automatically ratchet down to older, circuit-switched 3G or 2G networks to transmit the call. The benefits of VoLTE – the better call quality and lower power consumption – remain elusive for most users. For operators to rely on LTE for their voice coverage, complete network build-outs are required. This is the main reason that only South Korea is currently leading in VoLTE services.
This is a strategic report intended to help all the LTE operators (and also to those who are still planning to deploy LTE) in scenario planning for VoLTE. The purpose of the report is to help operators in identifying their key strategic advantages and build on them to counter the current as well as upcoming challenges. The purpose of the report is to help operators in analyzing the strategic advantages of VoLTE and to provide appropriate guidelines to maximize their return on investments.
Key Questions Answered
1. How operator can offer HD voice services over LTE while minimizing costs and risks?
2. Why operators need to move from CSFB to VoLTE?
3. What are exclusive benefits of VoLTE in terms of HD voice and video quality?
4. What are the implications of VoLTE on handover between LTE and non LTE networks, roaming, battery life etc.?
5. What are the various factors/components to be considered while implementing VoLTE in terms of IMS client, eNodeB, EPC and IMS server?
6. What is IR.92 compliance? Why do operators need to ensure compliance to IR.92?
7. Which are the markets where VoLTE deployments are highly recommended?
8. How VoLTE can be leveraged to significantly increase ARPUs and control churn rate?
9. What are the prerequisite for deploying VoLTE?
10. What should be an ideal approach for operators to address the challenges of positioning VoLTE, both within their own portfolio and against the competition?
11. What is the current potential of VoLTE market and how the market will shape up during the next 5 years?
12. Extensive coverage on key future trends: uptake of subscribers, technologies, services and devices (Global, Regional, as well as for key countries).