& cplSiteName &

VoLTE: So Close You Can Hear It

Sarah Thomas
2/24/2014
50%
50%

BARCELONA, Spain -- Mobile World Congress. Despite many false starts, the GSMA is expecting no less than 20 voice-over LTE (VoLTE) deployments this year.

The next ones are being announced this week at the GSM Association (GSMA) 's own show in Barcelona. For one, Asian operator SingTel Optus Pty. Ltd. said Monday it will launch VoLTE in Singapore "in the coming months" in partnership with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). The deployment will use Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC) to kick users back to 3G where LTE is not available, and will be supported by a number of compatible Samsung Corp. phones, including the next Galaxy S, the Galaxy S4, and the Note 3 via a software upgrade.

China Mobile Ltd. (NYSE: CHL) is also expected to announce an expansion of its initial launch with ZTE in Guangzhou this week, and the carrier is showing off virtualized VoLTE with Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) at the show. (See China Mobile, ZTE Kick Off VoLTE Rollout , Alcatel-Lucent Lays Out Its NFV Plans, and China Mobile, Alcatel-Lucent to Demo NFV at MWC14 .)

Among the US-based operators, both Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) have been testing VoLTE in the network and handsets, respectively, and Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) formed a partnership with BroadSoft Inc. to manage its VoLTE migration, suggesting initial trials at least may not be far behind. (See Verizon VoLTE Testing Spotted, AT&T's VoLTE Phones Start Trickling Out , and Sprint Taps BroadSoft for VoLTE Transition.)

There have been so many fits and starts around VoLTE as operators look to build a superior service to 3G voice, but Paul Gowans, JDSU (Nasdaq: JDSU; Toronto: JDU) mobility marketing manager, told Light Reading he thinks the delays are finally over. The market is now mature enough in its understanding of the end-to-end nature of what's required, he said.

It's that end-to-end nature that's caused VoLTE to be delayed so long, too. Gowans said there have been two main challenges with VoLTE -- optimizing the radio access network (RAN) and the service quality. Service quality has to be assured from the RF level to the RAN to the device itself. The RAN causes the most issues, he said.

"If you think about it as one chain from end to end, if one piece causes a problem, the whole thing breaks down," Gowans said of the delays. Test and measurement vendors such JDSU have been engaged in finding those issues in the pre-deployment testing, to identify where the whole process typically gets hung up.

Dan Warren, the Senior Director of Technology for GSMA, added two other challenges that are still troubling operators -- the increased signaling load of VoLTE and call-recognition failures in which the phone doesn't recognize the device it's calling and permanently blocks the number. He said operators are tackling these issues now, and the GSMA is doing its part to speed up finding the answers. (See VoLTE Needs Passing Grade From Operator Tests and MW13: Tekelec Warns of VoLTE Signaling Storm.)

The industry association produced a guide, “VoLTE Service Description and Implementation Guideline,” in October to facilitate roaming relationships, as well as a launched an “internal support area where operators can share knowledge and help figure out issues between each other.

VoLTE still won't be a crystal-clear proposition as the launches do occur. As Gowans pointed out, it requires a new handset or firmware update for a lot of devices, and roaming and interoperability issues will take longer for the GSMA to wade through. Until deals are forged, a VoLTE user calling someone on a different network will still fall back to 3G. It will be a while before it lives up to its full potential.

"This year things will start to build up," Gowan said, "but it will be still building up in islands."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
mhhf1ve
50%
50%
mhhf1ve,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/27/2014 | 6:31:05 PM
Re: VoLTE challenges
The adoption of VoLTE will still be limited by the handset adoption, no? It seems like everyone has a smartphone, but I think the stats actually still favor a dumbphone market for now.
melao2
50%
50%
melao2,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/25/2014 | 1:34:58 PM
Re: VoLTE challenges
It is right on the target.

It should make sense financially for the whole "eco-system" to embrace VoLTE.

Why not just expand 3G/2G for Voice? Financially it still makes sense. 
AJAY-M
50%
50%
AJAY-M,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/25/2014 | 12:37:22 PM
VoLTE challenges
There are couple challenges in VoLTE launch. VoLTE with IMS definitely giving advantage of high voice quality but ;ensuring end to end quality of service, maintaining complex IMS system, increased signaling load , availability of affordable VoLTE devices/smart phones ,device management/configuration and roaming are real challenges.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 10:36:09 AM
Re: Small step for VoLTE
Well, this isn't good news, but Grant Henderson, vice president of marketing and product development for Radisys, which makes media processors for VoLTE, thinks 20 might be too ambitious...he said perhaps more like 15 launches this year. Sheesh.

 

 
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 4:00:28 AM
Small step for VoLTE
The GSA says that 274 operators have launched LTE networks so far, so 20 of them doing VoLTE is only about 7%. Not a great start, but, hey, it's still a start!
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
2/25/2014 | 3:35:56 AM
Re: Progress
Yeah, and I think they already have, which is why it's taken so long. As Dean Bubley pointed out on Twitter, these are still primarily demos and promises, but I do think it's promising that the T&M guys, who are in the trenches on this, think the delays are over. I bet we'll hear more from the US operators soon.
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
2/24/2014 | 10:11:20 PM
Progress
Sounds like progress, but also like there are still a few things to be ironed out. Is there any reason to believe that Verizon or other carriers could discover issues during their trials that could delay commercial launches?
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
The Real-World View of Service Provider Innovation
Executives from Deutsch Telekom, Facebook, AT&T, Vodafone, and Masergy share insights from their company’s major transformation efforts and updates on key issues including open source, managed cloud connections and 5G.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBS 2016 Highlights

5|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of Huawei's UBBS event in Hong Kong.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
European 2020 Digital Agenda

5|12|16   |     |   (0) comments


Anacom's Fatima Barros discusses the plan to bring ultrafast broadband to Portugal by 2020.
Upcoming Live Events
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
WiCipedia: Short Skirts & Back-Up Plans
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 5/20/2016
Nokia Plays It Smart With Major Mobile Devices Brand Deal
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/18/2016
Eurobites: Be More European, EU Tells Streaming Services
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/20/2016
Google Doubles Down on Machine Learning, AI
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 5/19/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.