Around 100 telecom operators globally will launch Voice over LTE or VoLTE service by the end of 2016, which is double the amount year-on-year, and six times higher than at the beginning of 2015, according to Deloitte Global. The firm said that the primary motivation is likely to be to increase network capacity and extend the reach of their voice services for most carriers launching VoLTE or VoWiFi in 2016.
These launches will result in around 300 million customers worldwide using VoLTE/VoWiFi service by the end of 2016, double the number at the start of the year and five times higher than at the beginning of 2015.
"While VoLTE or VoWiFi technologies enable a range of value-added services, such as video calling, we expect the majority of carriers to exploit this additional functionality in later years, with the initial focus being on coverage and capacity," the firm said, adding that VoLTE will enable telcos to move voice calls off 2G and 3G networks and onto the LTE (4G) network
VoLTE can support up to twice as many voice users in a given bandwidth (per megahertz). Additional cost savings can be obtained from retiring legacy infrastructure, and not having to run two infrastructures in parallel, one for data and one for voice.
Deloitte Global said that carriers are likely to use VoWiFi to extend coverage, particularly indoors, and as a result help improve customer satisfaction with the operator and lessen the likelihood of churn.
VoWiFi is a network operator managed and controlled service, which, for users, should mean that the call is less likely to be dropped. It also offers native calling, which means there is no need to open an app to make or receive calls. A VoIP call can only be received when that speciic app is open.
“VoWiFi extends reach at a relatively low marginal cost. Operators need to deploy an IP multimedia subsystem (IMS). If they already have VoLTE, this will already have been paid for.In some regards VoWiFi may even reduce operator costs, as calls placed on a smartphone would be carried over the consumer's broadband network, freeing up some cellular capacity,” the firm said.
Further, VoWiFi can reduce cost for an operator as it enables traffic to be offloaded to another network. "The cost savings could be signiicant: a US carrier with 15 percent VoWiFi penetration and a national footprint could enjoy spectrum and capacity savings per year of approaching half a billion dollars," the firm said.