After years of speculation, network providers have this year announced a new voice technology that will become part of the 4G landscape. VoLTE has been rolled out across the T-Mobile network in the UK, with plans to expand nationwide by the end of 2014 and reported users numbering more than 107 million worldwide.
VoLTE won’t allow Telcos to differentiate their voice services on any front, initially at least, although there has been some indication that call set-up could be up to twice as fast using VoLTE compared to existing 3G circuit switched fallback (CSFB).
The capabilities of the new technology haven’t been tested properly and aren’t expected to be good enough to support emergency calls for the foreseeable future. Rollouts are limited in terms of both market and supported devices: only four phones have VoLTE capability in the UK currently.
As such, the rollout of VoLTE services are likely to be disruptive from a commercial outlook. The change will create further challenges for operator models, as capital expenditure in new technology and platforms becomes more difficult with no obvious return on those investments.
Dean Bubley, director and founder of Disruptive Analysis, thinks that while VoLTE may help stem losses for the future, it will be business as usual for most telecommunications. HD voice services are already available over 3G and there is no new revenue to be had from VoLTE specifically.
Companies not wishing to outlay substantial capital expenditure should be concentrating on their operational expenses in order to support the way voice traffic is generated.
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