Voice over LTE or VoLTE – How Indian Operators Are Managing?

Voice over LTE or VoLTE – How Indian Operators Are Managing?As we can see LTE is the most awaiting technological breakthrough for Indian masses as LTE wins over WiMAX as most preferred 4the generation wireless broadband technology.

Apart from the role of LTE as boon for exponential data consumption worldwide, there is no clear –cut standard for the voice over LTE. Voice over LTE is important as people like to use voice services while access data over LTE on the move.

Worldwide state of LTE is similar to CDMA in India – LTE is used mostly for data using dongle while voice services on LTE are still not in mature shape.

In United States CDMA players – Verizon and MetroPCS and GSM players – AT&T and Rogers are offering voice on LTE smartphones. They are using Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) as the phones have multiple radio support but only one radio band active at a time, so while the user makes a call the device is forced off the LTE network and goes to 2G/3G network to make phone calls.

Also LTE spectrum is available in more than 40 bands over the world and thus to make a LTE chip supporting all bands for worldwide roaming is a problem. Also high speed data & LTE/3G(EVDO & HSPA)/2G(GSM/GPRS/EDGE & 1X) switching makes the battery backup unstable compared to HSPA/EVDO phones.

But as LTE coverage is scarce over the globe, operators have to use this CSFB technique to offer roaming to remote parts which has only GSM/1X coverage.

Over the past two years, the industry has identified four main tracks to offer voice over LTE:

a) Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) to 2G/3G CS.

b) IMS-based, such as 3GPP IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Multimedia Telephony (MMTel) over LTE.

c) Over-the-top (OTT) – for example, Skype.

d) Circuit Switched over Packet Switched (CS over PS) – for eg, voice over LTE via Generic Access (VoLGA).

Among this four options only first one is taken as intrim solution for voice over LTE and used by major LTE operators as said before. TeliaSonera, world’s first LTE operators is gearing up to roll out voice services on LTE using CSFB. According to them both CSFB & VoLTE is to be there as CSFB will help users to roam outside 4G coverage.

There is also another optimization technique called network-controlled packet-switched handover, which will work in parallel with CS fallback, that will reduce the data session setup times down to a few hundred milliseconds, it will come in 2012.

To bring the voice over LTE, The GSM Association (GSMA) had partnered with U.S. operator Verizon and conducting trials on the network equipped Alcatel-Lucent using LG Revolution smartphone. In the demonstration voice calls over LTE, which is completely IP-based and uses SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) to set up the call, was made over HD voice codec as the smartphone has the feature. But the test fails basically while the user moves from one cell to another and call drops or call quality goes down. So true VoLTE has to go long way.

In India BWA operators like Airtel and Aircel are already in voice business, and they will adopt CSFB to offer voice over LTE devices. While smaller ones like Tikona, Augere & Qualcomm may be focused on data services only targeting individuals and enterprise segments.

There are reports that Qualcomm will tie up existing CDMA-EVDO players to offer pan India data roaming. But largest BWA player Reliance Infotel may buy a 2G player after M&A policy comes with new telecom policy or simply tie up with RCom to offer voice on LTE using CSFB.

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29 Comments on "Voice over LTE or VoLTE – How Indian Operators Are Managing?"


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October 22, 2012 11:22 am 11:22 AM
The slow adoption of 3G must be assigned to the greed of these private players. They offer 1-10GB of data at such sky high prices. It is not they can not provide. They simply want to milk money from consumers and avoid high spectrum charges claiming that 3g is not successful in India. On the other hand MTNL provide unlimited 3G at Rs 2500/2 months in Mumbai and Rs 4500/6 months in Delhi and that too without throttling your speed as private players like Reliance Tata Docomo, Airtel do beyond the so called fair usage limit. I have been promised… Read more »
January 17, 2012 12:16 am 12:16 AM

Not even the speed of 2G is upto the mark (I mean it is not upto the SPEED limit of GPRS or EDGE, it is much less than that). Then think about 4G / LTE !!!!!. Even if 4G comes, can only provide 3.6 Mbps constantly to a user and not more than that. LOL LOL.

January 16, 2012 11:20 pm 11:20 PM
Saurabh : @PRATIK RCOM is looking to sell its telecom tower arm, Reliance Infratel, from a long time to reduce debt burden on company but no one is ready to buy it as RCOM valuing it at $4 bn which is much higher. If somehow, they get the buyers, it will no more be a part of RCOM and RIL has to get into agreement with the new stakeholders. that stake will not be sold to anyone but it will remain part of RCOM empire and then handed over to elder brother to role out LTE over reliance infocom, who… Read more »