A new LTE mobile data transfer standard can now be used for seamless handover of voice calls and video telephony from LTE to legacy 3G/UMTS networks following recent trials, according to operator T-Mobile Austria and manufacturer Huawei.
As LTE network coverage is still restricted at this early stage, new technology had to be developed to enable users to switch seamlessly from LTE back to existing 3G/UMTS networks during the course of a call without any perceived interruptions.
Until now, this had proved impossible, presenting network operators piloting LTE technology throughout Europe with a major challenge. T-Mobile Austria and Huawei, working with Qualcomm Technologies, have now demonstrated voice call continuity from LTE to 3G/UMTS network following the 3GPP Rel. 10 standard.
In the future, users throughout Europe will be able to switch from LTE to standard mobile telephone networks without any noticeable interruptions. This now means that nothing stands in the way of a changeover to LTE voice-enabled mobile telephones and other state-of-the-art handsets for users across the continent, according to the three companies.
The advantages of this new Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology include crystal clear call quality as well as generally faster connection speeds. The new technology and only solution of its kind in Europe was unveiled at the T-Mobile Austria and Huawei Innovation Center in Vienna in October 2012.
LTE – from data to voice standardThe solution introduced by T-Mobile Austria and Huawei will make exceptionally high quality calls using LTE technology a reality. The changeover process from LTE to an alternative network is now completely seamless, with the moment of the switch not discernible to the caller – a step forward that had been unattainable, until now.
The smooth handover has been achieved by using network switching technology from Huawei and VoLTE test mobile phones based on Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor MSM8960 chipset. The achievement represents a significant milestone in the introduction of voice calls via LTE in Europe.
T-Mobile Austria CTO Rüdiger Köster explained: ‘Our successful pilot project showed that not only rapid data transfer, but also Voice over LTE technology is ready for wide spread commercial use. Huawei and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. clearly proved their credentials and demonstrated their problem-solving expertise during the course of the venture with T-Mobile.’
Daniel Zhou, CEO of Huawei Austria added: ‘This unique solution has enabled us to eliminate a number of previously insurmountable technical problems. Now that we have found a way to seamlessly switch to standard mobile telephone networks during the course of an active call, operators can rapidly move over to LTE technology while assuring continued customer satisfaction throughout Europe. The successful project with Qualcomm Technologies and T-Mobile Austria means that Voice over LTE has proven the readiness of this leading edge technology.’