Less than a year after the launch of its ultrafast 4G service, Vodafone UK has announced it has successfully tested Voice over LTE (VoLTE) at its specialist laboratory in Newbury. VoLTE is a universal technology allowing voice calls to be carried across Vodafone’s 4G data network, instead of using the 2G or 3G voice network as they do today.
Vodafone said future development of VoLTE will lead to:
• The ability to receive calls and use data seamlessly and simultaneously, which means customers’ ultrafast 4G download speeds won’t be interrupted when making or receiving a call.
• Increased voice call quality and performance, providing crystal clear calls across 4G and decreased background noise.
• High quality video calling, without buffering or pixelating - meaning customers will experience their call as though they’re really face-to-face with each other.
• A faster call set-up time – connecting customers to their friends and family in an instant.
However, Vodafone did not commit to any particular date for the launch of VoLTE services. Rival UK operator EE is due to introduce a VoLTE service next year. In comparison, South Korea's mobile operators have been offering VoLTE to their subscribers since 2012.
The UK trial is amongst a number of projects achieved by Vodafone and its partners this year. This includes the deployment of Vodafone’s 2.6Ghz spectrum on a small cell system using Huawei’s Lampsite technology. This now gives employees and visitors to Huawei’s UK headquarters 4G data speeds of up to 82Mbps downlink and 42MBps uplink.
Fergal Kelly, CTO at Vodafone UK, said: “We’ve been continually developing and investing heavily in our UK network since it launched nearly 30 years ago. Our trial of VoLTE, less than a year after the launch of our 4G network, is the next major innovation, and is hugely important as we continue our work to build the UK’s best network.”
In the last few months, Vodafone has expanded its ultrafast 4G coverage to 263 larger cities, towns and districts as well as thousands of smaller communities across the UK. This expansion is part of £1 billion it is spending on its UK network and services this year.
Vodafone UK said it will now continue to test and develop the service as it works toward commercial launch in the future.