This blog is by Ismo Matilainen from the Networks business of Nokia.
It’s exciting to see the recent VoLTE launch announcements emerging from operators in North America and Asia, followed by statements from several service providers confirming their commitment to launch the service in 2014. Operators are actively building their LTE coverage, the preconditions for VoLTE (and SRVCC) are in good shape, and the roll-outs have begun.
I recently had the opportunity to talk about VoLTE with representatives from over 60 operators during Nokia’s user group event in Finland. The focus our customers are putting on voice evolution and VoLTE was made very clear during these discussions.
Naturally, they expressed huge interest in Network Function Virtualization (NFV), which will be of significant benefit when building new networks (example: MTS Russia, which recently completed its first VoLTE call on a telco cloud infrastructure using Nokia’s technology and expertise). VoLTE seems to be the catalyst that will help service providers rethink the way they provide voice services to mobile and fixed networks, enabling a simplified one-network approach for voice and data. Likewise, there was increased interest in other services and connections that can be provided with the same IMS core, such as messaging service, web real-time communications (RTC) and voice of WiFi. But as the investments in new technology grow, so does the desire to minimize the network operating costs.
From the business perspective, the transformation of voice driven by VoLTE will open the path for operators to position themselves as the preferred providers for such services. This will happen through the combination of a more complete offer with a more appealing services packaging. By bundling voice and data services smartly, for example, operators can combine the quality of telco voice (powered up by high-definition voice) with a compelling value proposition. Yes – OTT voice can be implemented quickly, but it doesn’t fulfill consumer expectations for voice quality. End users want enough data as well as assurance that voice service will work reliably on demand, without worrying whether an application or network access will fail. And as evidenced in our 2014 Acquisition & Retention Study Report, quality has proven to be a key retention driver.
Handle the signaling load with confidence
Such strong momentum in the voice market makes me feel really good about our positioning at Nokia. Many of our customers have been busy building up their LTE capabilities to ensure voice call continuity within their LTE networks and are confident in Nokia’s experience to manage the massive signaling load which accompanies a VoLTE network. (Unfortunately, some vendors were caught offguard with the unprecedented signaling loads that occur in VoLTE networks and their signal handling hasn’t been in place.) Our customers can also take full advantage of the voice evolution opportunity by leveraging our NFV capabilities and still benefit from all the previous developments concerning 2G and 3G. This approach is not only beneficial for our customers, but is also being recognized by the industry.
Another case in point: StarHub, with whom we received a GTB award in the “Best mobile infrastructure” category for VoLTE. StarHub’s ability to prepare and optimize its network for a smooth and flawless launch of VoLTE was considered a benchmark for the industry.
The spotlight on VoLTE during the past few months has been bright and these latest announcements are solid proof of the viability of the technology.
Here’s VoLTE in a nutshell: infographic.
We also have more to share on VoLTE here.
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