Qualcomm Makes First VoLTE-to-3G Hand-Off

In an important milestone for VoLTE, Qualcomm does a voice-call hand-off on an Ericsson network

Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms

February 2, 2012

2 Min Read
Qualcomm Makes First VoLTE-to-3G Hand-Off

Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) announced Thursday they have completed the first voice call handed off from a Long Term Evolution (LTE) network, on voice-over LTE, to a WCDMA 3G network using Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC).

SRVCC is required by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) for a seamless hand-off when a VoLTE call leaves the LTE network coverage area. Qualcomm completed its first -- and, it claims, the world's first -- hand-off on Dec. 23, on an Ericsson network using a handset with the Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 3G/LTE multimode processor on board.

The companies will be showing off the capability at this month's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Why this matters
VoLTE is crucial for wireless operators to move voice traffic to their LTE networks, and an SRVCC-based hand-off is equally as important, as 3G and 4G networks will coexist for some time. The goal is to keep latency low enough that consumers can't detect the hand-off and can't tell which network they are making a call on.

Qualcomm also points out that SRVCC, like its predecessor, circuit-switched fall back (CSFB), relies on a single radio in the handset for hand-off and a single chip to support both LTE and 3G, meaning handset makers can design smaller phones with lower power consumption and component costs. That could mean cheaper 4G handsets, and it could significantly improve battery life -- a chief complaint about 4G phones.

Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown expects the first VoLTE services to launch in mid to late 2012, led by North American CDMA operators, and to pick up traction in 2013. Indeed, MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) has said it will launch VoLTE services in the early part of this year, and Verizon Wireless has two trial networks up and running in the U.S. and plans to take VoLTE nationwide in early 2013. (See When Will Operators Bolt to VoLTE?, MetroPCS Plots LTE Smartphones, VoLTE Trials and VZ Plans Nationwide VoLTE in 2013 .)

For more
Get the latest on VoLTE traction below, and check out Heavy Reading's latest white paper on the topic, here.

  • Operators Raise Voice Services on LTE

  • Verizon Working on LTE-Advanced Standards

  • MWC 2011: Verizon Plans VoLTE for 2012

  • VoLTE Maintains Momentum

  • Ericsson, Samsung, Verizon Try VoLTE

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

About the Author(s)

Sarah Thomas

Director, Women in Comms

Sarah Thomas's love affair with communications began in 2003 when she bought her first cellphone, a pink RAZR, which she duly "bedazzled" with the help of superglue and her dad.

She joined the editorial staff at Light Reading in 2010 and has been covering mobile technologies ever since. Sarah got her start covering telecom in 2007 at Telephony, later Connected Planet, may it rest in peace. Her non-telecom work experience includes a brief foray into public relations at Fleishman-Hillard (her cussin' upset the clients) and a hodge-podge of internships, including spells at Ingram's (Kansas City's business magazine), American Spa magazine (where she was Chief Hot-Tub Correspondent), and the tweens' quiz bible, QuizFest, in NYC.

As Editorial Operations Director, a role she took on in January 2015, Sarah is responsible for the day-to-day management of the non-news content elements on Light Reading.

Sarah received her Bachelor's in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She lives in Chicago with her 3DTV, her iPad and a drawer full of smartphone cords.

Away from the world of telecom journalism, Sarah likes to dabble in monster truck racing, becoming part of Team Bigfoot in 2009.

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