Sunday, 13 January 2013

Mobile operators should slow down rollout of VoLTE

Ovum analyst Jeremy Green is advising mobile operators to slow down on the rollout of mobile VoIP over 4G LTE networks because there are still service and supply issues to work out, and no compelling services or revenue opportunities.

Green advised operators to focus on data services over their high-speed wireless networks in the short term. In the long term, VoLTE will provide network efficiency and costs savings, he added.

"While there are some questions about how to provide voice services during the interim period when the LTE network sits alongside legacy 3G and even 2G networks, there is general agreement that the ultimate destination is a solution based on the IP multimedia subsystem, which is now designated as VoLTE--'voice over LTE'," Green wrote.

Service parity issues, such as support for emergency calls and in-call handover between LTE and other networks, are holding operators back from deploying VoLTE. There is also an insufficient number of devices out there that support VoLTE and problems with device performance, such as battery drain.

"The service benefits of VoLTE also appear to be tenuous," Green wrote. "Even if RCS services were a sure-fire winner (and this is by no means an established certainty), their deployment is largely unrelated to LTE, as the few commercial deployments to date largely demonstrate. It is a similar situation with HD voice, which can be deployed on both LTE and non-LTE networks," he explained.

At the same time, factors that are driving operators toward early VoLTE deployment include network and spectrum efficiencies, eliminating the need for a separate voice network, improving call setup times and the offering new services, such as high-definition voice, simultaneous data usage and rich communication suite services.

Green advised operators to stay engaged with VoLTE, but not to rush into deployment. In the case of VoLTE, the early bird does not catch the worm, he added.

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