MWC 2011: Deutsche Telekom Ditches VoLGA

BARCELONA -- Mobile World Congress 2011 -- Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT) has abandoned its pursuit of an alternative technology initiative for delivering voice services over LTE networks, called VoLGA (voice over LTE via generic access).

The German operator was the biggest supporter of the circuit-switch-over-packet technology, which is intended to be used as an interim measure to deliver voice services over LTE networks before the full implementation of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based voice services.

But in an interview with Light Reading Mobile, Deutsche Telekom CTO Olivier Baujard said that there was not enough industry support for VoLGA.

"We have not created with VoLGA the traction we wanted or hoped," said Baujard. "We will implement the IMS-based solution, with CSFB [circuit-switch fallback]."

Instead of VoLGA, Deutsche Telekom will rely on its 3G networks to deliver voice services in the initial phase of its LTE offering, which is what's known as "circuit-switch fallback," before it will deploy IMS-based LTE voice services. But the operator does not see the need for LTE voice services before 2012 or 2013, according to Baujard.

When LR Mobile told the GSM Association (GSMA) director of technology Dan Warren about the comments made by the CTO of Deutsche Telekom, he said, "I could kiss you!"

That's probably because the emergence of VoLGA as an alternative technology to CSFB or potentially IMS-based voice caused a rift in the industry and sparked off worries of fragmentation among mobile operators. The development led the GSMA to spearhead an industry initiative to gather support for IMS-based voice over LTE, called VoLTE. (See Operators Rally Round IMS for LTE Voice, T-Mobile: Voice Discord Threatens LTE, New Specs Deepen LTE Voice Dilemma and Voice Over LTE & the 'IMS Gap'.)

Deutsche Telekom has long been a lone, yet significant, supporter of VoLGA. But it seems the German giant's size alone was not enough to move VoLGA from a preferred solution to a widely adopted industry standard. The operator's decision not to deploy the technology will be a blow to the Voice over LTE via Generic Access (VoLGA) Forum . Without Deutsche Telekom's support, it is unlikely the technology will be deployed by any other operator. (See Ericsson Quits Voice-Over-LTE Forum.)

— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

COMMENTS Add Comment
joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:12:42 PM
re: MWC 2011: Deutsche Telekom Ditches VoLGA

What does this mean for T-Mob's WiFi Calling push. Anything?

digits 12/5/2012 | 5:12:40 PM
re: MWC 2011: Deutsche Telekom Ditches VoLGA

People are always telling me the GSMA is very passionate about voice over LTE...

Thanks for the message board comments, Dan!

Michelle Donegan 12/5/2012 | 5:12:40 PM
re: MWC 2011: Deutsche Telekom Ditches VoLGA

Thanks, Dan, for adding the clarification.

I think part of the reason why voice over LTE is so controversial is because the issue exposes the enormity of the decisions mobile operators face regarding IMS -- how, when and why do they deploy IMS? I think a lot of operators are preoccupied with these questions right now.

Dan Jones has a good interview with Verizon's Bill Stone about Voice over LTE (VoLTE) here:



Dan Warren 12/5/2012 | 5:12:40 PM
re: MWC 2011: Deutsche Telekom Ditches VoLGA

Think I should clarify the quote in the article above.  Having a plethora of voice solutions for LTE in the market creates headaches, so if a customer has a VoLGA phone and roams in to a VoLTE-supporting network, that either means that voice doesn't work for that customer (which is clearly bad for the customer) or that someone somewhere has to own and operator an interworking function (which adds expense) or everyone ends up having to support all functionality for all voice solutions that could roam in (which is even more expensive). 

If VoLGA doesn't happen, then all of these problems no longer need to be solved, and we get back to having a single voice implementation, with global economy of scale and ecosystem.  That is what we have be aiming for in the GSMA VoLTE work from the outset.

Dan Warren

Dan Warren 12/5/2012 | 5:12:31 PM
re: MWC 2011: Deutsche Telekom Ditches VoLGA

Ray, if it had been you that had told me, the offer would have been for no more than a hug.  Even the passion I have for the topic has its limits.



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