LTE Voice Is the Talk of Hong Kong

As it marked its first LTE smartphone sale on Saturday, Hong Kong CSL Ltd. also became one of the world's first operators to deliver LTE voice services via Circuit-Switch Fallback (CSFB).

CSL announced earlier this month that it would offer High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498)'s Velocity 4G device, which supports LTE as well as dual-carrier HSPA, under its high-end brand 1010. An operator spokeswoman confirmed to Light Reading Mobile that the HTC LTE device also supports CSFB for voice calls.

The device is available in Hong Kong with four different service plans: HK$189 (US$24) per month for 200MB, HK$249 ($32) per month for 400MB, HK$299 ($38) per month for 800MB and HK$439 ($56) for unlimited data.

CSL launched its LTE and dual-carrier HSPA+ network in 2010 with equipment from ZTE Corp. (Shenzhen: 000063; Hong Kong: 0763). (See ZTE Ousts NSN in Hong Kong , MWC 2009: SDR Coup for ZTE and MWC 2010: CSL Switches to Software-Defined Radio.)

Why this matters
CSL is among the first operators to launch a voice service on LTE devices supported by CSFB and follows service launches by AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Rogers Wireless Communications Inc. (NYSE: RCN; Toronto: RCM) in the U.S. and Canada, respectively. How well the service works and how it is received by Hong Kong's particularly tech-savvy users will be interesting.

Also, because CSL's 3G network is dual-carrier HSPA+ with speeds up to 42 Mbit/s, when the device "falls back" to the 3G network for voice and data calls, it's possible that users may not necessarily notice which network they are using, according to Gabriel Brown, senior analyst at Heavy Reading.

With dual-carrier HSPA+, the difference between the 3G network and the LTE network may not be as great as on other operators' networks, which might make a better service experience for users when a CSFB call is initiated.

It's also an important technology launch for network supplier ZTE. "It's a flagship ZTE network," said Brown.

For more
Here's the latest on CSL's LTE network and operator LTE voice service strategies:

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:42:03 PM
re: LTE Voice Is the Talk of Hong Kong

I'd like to know what CSL's plans for VoLTE are and how long it intends to support CSFB in the meantime.

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