VoLTE: What is it and how does it work?

VoLTE (voice over LTE) refers to voice calls that are made over a 4G LTE network instead of more traditional calls which are made by using CSFB (Circuit-Switched Fall-back), a system that switches back to 2G or 3G technologies just before connecting a call.

Around the world, carriers are currently working to make VoLTE available to as many of their customers as possible, as the popularity of service moves from traditional calls and texts to messenger based services such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and internet based calling services like Skype.

The key benefits of VoLTE

Much improved call-quality

VoLTE offers superior call quality to 2G and 3G calls, that’s because much more data can be transferred over 4G (three times more than 3G and six times more than 2G), allowing for considerably improved clarity of tone and voice, making for an altogether richer calling experience.

Improved coverage and connectivity

VoLTE can connect calls up to twice as fast as current 2G and 3G methods allow. It also means that by using 4G LTE services, less spectrum is required to maintain 2G services and network operators are able to repurpose that for further capacity on 4G networks.

Better battery life

A mobile phone without VoLTE needs to switch from 4G back to 3G or 2G before it makes a call, then once the call is finished it has to re-establish a connection to the 4G network. That switching, together with the time spent searching for new signals uses a significant amount of power.

Because VoLTE uses a constant 4G service, this greatly improves device battery life.

Limitations of VoLTE

Both devices require VoLTE for some implementations

Initially at least, for some applications of VoLTE, both the connecting devices will require VoLTE compatibility for one or the other to benefit from it. This is a big problem as consumers will be restricted by the speed in which the platform is adopted by other network users.

Network interoperability

Full network interoperability may take some time, so it will only be possible for some people to contact those who are also on the same network with VoLTE.

Pricing

As much of VoLTE services tie in with data use, unlike traditional services that charge customers based on minutes and text allocation, you may need to have larger amounts of data available, which could be expensive.

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