TeliaSonera AB said it expects devices that support Voice over LTE (VoLTE) to be available sometime in 2013, in an interview with Light Reading Mobile during Mobile World Congress 2012 in Barcelona last week.
Tommy Ljunggren, TeliaSonera's vice president for system development, explained the operator's Long Term Evolution (LTE) voice services strategy in an interview that occurred just after it announced that it had started to sell the first LTE smartphones in Sweden, which are also the first to be available in Europe. (See Sweden's First LTE Smartphones.)
Those first LTE handsets, which are from Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., support voice services via Circuit-Switch Fallback (CSFB) whereby the voice calls are actually carried by the 3G or 2G network. It works like this: in order to make or receive a voice call, any LTE data session will stop and the device will switch to, or "fall back" to, the 3G network to make the voice call and resume the data session. (See Operators Raise Voice Services on LTE and LTE Voice Lag Leaves Operators Vulnerable .)
For LTE voice services, TeliaSonera believes both CSFB and VoLTE will be needed and it is evaluating how and when to launch the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based service. With VoLTE, the voice call is delivered in IP packets just like the data.
"We're looking at how and when to launch VoLTE," said Ljunggren. "The indication is that terminals that can support VoLTE will be there next year. ... That's the time frame we talk about."
Here's the full interview (tip: Ljunggren discusses the operator's VoLTE plans at around the two-minute mark):
TeliaSonera has started selling LTE smartphones in Europe and Tommy Ljunggren explained the early experiences with LTE voice services as well as the operator's 4G pricing strategy
In the interview, Ljunggren also explained TeliaSonera's new pricing policy for third-party free VoIP applications as well as what kinds of services are driving usage on its 4G networks in Europe. (See TeliaSonera Chokes Free VoIP Services .)
â€” Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile