Sluggish start for Voice-over-LTE

Mobile calls continue to rely on apps, older communications technology

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology, expected to be the eventual technology of choice for delivering voice calls to 4G mobile devices, is growing sluggishly. This, even as over-the-top (OTT) voice apps such as Skype are taking off in popularity.

The end goal of LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is higher-quality calls over IP networks. However, a combination of factors is slowing the rollout of VoLTE services.

TechHive's Mikael Ricknäs writes that mobile subscribers to Skype and similar voice services will jump from about 640 million this year to nearly 1 billion in 2013, according to research from Infonetics. However, these apps generate very little revenue per subscriber. Analysts say mobile operators hope that "a combination of VoLTE, HD Voice, and RCS (Rich Communications Suite) will turn out to be a more attractive proposition to consumers than just voice on its own." RCS integrates additional popular functionality such as instant messaging and content sharing. For the moment, though, older technologies are allowing satisfactory performance of calls moving from older networks to LTE.

Meanwhile, as reported last week, carriers continue to roll out mobile WiFi hotspots; Telefonica CTO Enrique Blanco tells Global Telecoms Business that WiFi and LTE technology "will live side-by-side."

Read more:
- Ricknäs' article

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