& cplSiteName &

4G Voice Still Just a Whisper

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
5/24/2012
50%
50%

BARCELONA -- LTE World Summit -- 4G voice services based on Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) technology may not launch as soon as many people thought.

Comments from speakers here in the popular conference sessions on VoLTE -- the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based technology that delivers packet voice over all-IP LTE networks -- indicate that the technology is taking longer to implement than operators had hoped. (See When Will Operators Bolt to VoLTE? and Testing Times for Voice on 4G.)

One of the signals that 4G voice timelines are being pushed back came from Network World, which, following an interview with the operator's VP of Network Hans Leutenegger, recently reported that Verizon Wireless plans to launch VoLTE in late 2013. Previously, Verizon had been expected to launch VoLTE nationwide in early 2013. (See VZ Plans Nationwide VoLTE in 2013 .)

Another clue to the state of VoLTE was in Acme Packet Inc. (Nasdaq: APKT)'s first-quarter results conference call. According to the earnings call transcript, Acme Packet CEO Andy Ory said, "There remains some question around the timing of VoLTE deployment, but as we told you last quarter, we do not believe VoLTE spending will have a meaningful impact on our business in 2012." The comment is notable because session border controllers such as Acme's will be a key component in a VoLTE setup.

In addition, there is an eerie absence of devices that support VoLTE at this stage, which could be worrying when one considers that operators such as MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) in the U.S. or LG Telecom in South Korea are looking to launch 4G services later this year. (See MetroPCS Blames 4G Voice Wait on Qualcomm.)

Here at the LTE conference in Barcelona, Danish operator TDC A/S (Copenhagen: TDC)'s director of mobile systems Ove Andreasen summed up the significance of getting VoLTE right with a stark allusion: "We don't want to be the new Kodak."

The worry is that the more all-IP LTE networks are rolled out and the longer mobile operators take to launch VoLTE, the window of opportunity widens all the more for over-the-top voice and messaging players.

According to Andreasen, VoLTE won't take off earlier than the second half of next year in Europe, at least.

"If you haven't built the perfect data network for OTT players, then you have more time," Andreasen said. "You could argue we're too late now if they stay as strong as they are."

According to Bengt Nordstrom, founder of consultancy Northstream , the situation with VoLTE is worse than what he was hoping.

"The understanding I have had is that we knew we could launch LTE in 2009 with routers and dongles; then with handsets using [circuit-switched fallback] and then VoLTE," he said. "But the industry has not sorted out how [VoLTE] should be implemented. It's not like it will be fully working in 2013 -- it's more like 2014."

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
The time has come for a telecom app store to save the industry.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Documentaries
Service Provider Panel: Partnering in the Digital Era

5|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Coopetition has always been part of telecom, but the ecosphere now includes data centers, vendors, apps developers, cloud service providers and Internet content providers. This BCE 2017 panel explores the new attitudes among network operators as to the value and variety of ...
LRTV Interviews
Site Demo: AT&T's IoT Flow Platform

5|19|17   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


At AT&T's R&D center in Tel Aviv, Israel, project leader Eyal Segev talks about the operator's Flow platform and how it helps to prototype IoT applications.
LRTV Documentaries
Agent of Change: A Q&A With AT&T's John Donovan

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson talks with the man leading AT&T's transformation efforts about the challenge of change.
LRTV Documentaries
BCE Service Provider Panel: The New Business Realities

5|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


For virtualization to happen, the telecom industry first has to grapple with key functional aspects of SDN and NFV that need to be universal, such as onboarding of virtualized network functions and federation of software-defined networks.
LRTV Interviews
BCE Service Provider Keynote: CenturyLink

5|16|17   |   22:32   |   (0) comments


Aamir Hussain leads the Product Development and Technology organization at CenturyLink, which includes the company's information technology function. He is an experienced senior technology executive with more than 25 years of proven success in the implementation of global technology operations, operationalization of complex technology, infrastructures and business ...
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink CTO on Transformation

5|16|17   |   7:43   |   (0) comments


The 50-year-old telco has already gone through several transformations, including every time it made an acquisition, but its purchase of Level 3 coupled with changes in technology and customer expectations necessitates its biggest transformation yet.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2017

5|15|17   |   5:05   |   (1) comment


Find out who made it into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Interviews
Site Visit: AT&T's Tel Aviv R&D Center

5|15|17   |   09:58   |   (1) comment


Nir Shalom, general manager and VP of application development at AT&T Israel, talks about the key service developments undertaken at the AT&T R&D facility in Tel Aviv and how the team there has adopted new ways of working.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Act on Your Intelligence With Amdocs aia!

5|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Amdocs CMO Gary Miles explains how communications service providers can seize the AI opportunity with Amdocs real-time digital intelligence platform.
LRTV Interviews
Logtel CEO: Making Sense of IoT

5|15|17   |   09:48   |   (0) comments


Jacques Bensimon, founder and CEO of Tel Aviv-based training and consultancy Logtel, talks about the need to make IoT more than just a buzzword.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Challenges of Mobile Banking Implementation

5|12|17   |     |   (0) comments


Kamal Quadir of bKash Limited explains the challenges and needs of implementing mobile banking in the Bangladesh market.
LRTV Interviews
Tel Aviv: A Hub of Innovation

5|10|17   |   07:58   |   (0) comments


Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Dan Allen discuss the technology innovation, food and amazing sights they witnessed during a recent trip to Israel.
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
BSS Is BS, Says KPN Tech Boss
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/16/2017
AT&T's Donovan: Women Adapt Faster Than Men
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 5/18/2017
Verizon on M&A: Who Needs a Cableco?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/17/2017
Standardization Needs Room for Innovation
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/17/2017
Fright Wigs & Cocktails: BCE 2017 in Pics
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 5/19/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
TEOCO Founder and CEO Atul Jain talks to Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about the challenges around cost control and service monetization in the mobile and IoT sectors.
Animals with Phones
What Brogrammers Look Like to the Rest of Us Click Here
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.