x
VoLTE/Rich communications

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. — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

Gabriel Brown 12/5/2012 | 5:43:42 PM
re: Qualcomm Makes First VoLTE-to-3G Hand-Off

The key thing about this announcement is that it's using the new S4 chipset. This has features integrated in baseband that should make handover (and VoLTE in general) work better. It is the leading chipset and, therefore, has a major influence on the industry schedule (although other factors come into play as well).


You can do VoLTE with QoS (but not handover) with current chipsets, and that's what the early launch devices will probably use, since MetroPCS, VZW, and so on, aren't planning to use SR-VCC.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:43:42 PM
re: Qualcomm Makes First VoLTE-to-3G Hand-Off

My question is when might we see a "hand-off" from data billing to voice minutes billing? Will VoLTE conversations be billed as "voice" minutes even though they are data streams?


Guessing that the telcos aren't going to want to "hand off" the lucrative voice minutes, even when they are just another data stream. Long live the clarity of wireless billing.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 5:43:42 PM
re: Qualcomm Makes First VoLTE-to-3G Hand-Off

My question is when might we see a "hand-off" from data billing to voice minutes billing? Will VoLTE conversations be billed as "voice" minutes even though they are data streams?


Guessing that the telcos aren't going to want to "hand off" the lucrative voice minutes, even when they are just another data stream. Long live the clarity of wireless billing.

alandal 12/5/2012 | 5:42:59 PM
re: Qualcomm Makes First VoLTE-to-3G Hand-Off

Is it because that Qualcomm is putting more effort to support a hybrid WCDMA(UMTS/HSPA) and LTE world? Or the LTE + EVDO hybrid (VzW alike) does not have plans/std to support voice 4G-3G hand-off?


Given the fact mobile data has been gaining so much usage it would be interesting to see how good VoLTE to be served with QoS with IMS throught entire EPC.

HOME
Sign In
SEARCH
CLOSE
MORE
CLOSE