By Ernest Worthman
At long last, a light at the end of the VoLTE tunnel. Domestically, it looks pretty good that AT&T is finally going to launch some VoLTE services. May 23 was the big day when they plan to go live with HD voice and VoLTE service in select markets across portions of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Customers will not only experience dramatically better sounding voice calls, but will be able to talk and use an LTE data connection at the same time. This is the future of LTE that we have all been awaiting.
In that same vein, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo is saying that, beginning in late June, its “extra-high speed” Xi service will offer VoLTE voice and video calls. It offers the same benefit as the AT&T service, simultaneous HD voice and LTE data services. To entice customers to try it out, DoCoMo will provide free access to the VoLTE video calls through the end of August. At that time, customers will begin to be billed both voice and data charges for using the VoLTE service.
By Ernest Worthman, While Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has been eagerly awaited by carriers, the ability to place voice over IP service on wireless platforms offers operators a path toward a less complex and expensive, more efficient network, with the ability to eventually retire their 3G networks.
However, real-world performance of VoLTE does not stand the quality expectations that users are accustomed to. When it works, it’s fabulous but the quality is all over the map at this juncture. The technology of the devices just isn’t up to prime time quality yet.
It seems that packet losses, which are transparent in data, have a resounding effect on VoLTE. Another glitch in VoLTE seems to be with setup times. They too are all over the map. Reports of 30-second setup times have been documented. And, until small cells are widely deployed so there are very few coverage black holes, VoLTE phones are prone to dropouts and going off-line for seconds to minutes – something that won’t be tolerated by uses.