Voice on 4G? Inevitable... But Not Anytime Soon

Carl Ford : 4G: For Generations to Come
Carl Ford

Voice on 4G? Inevitable... But Not Anytime Soon

With back to back sessions this afternoon at the 4GWE Conference, it's tough to cram all this great info into short blog posts (but of course that won't stop us from trying). In a panel this afternoon about Giving Voice to 4G, the bottom line seemed to be that given the advanced characteristics of 4G delivery technologies (mainly LTE, but WiMAX too), it shouldn't be a problem to eventually add voice to a 4G wireless service. The harder part? Trying to decide which technological path to take, and how to mix voice in without killing off existing 2G and 3G services, which rely on voice margins for profit.

Mehmet Balos, CTO of Genband, did a good job of explaining the different methods being considered for Voice over 4G -- basically either a 2G-compatible direction, a method called VoLGA, or a full-blown IMS. While IMS is generally considered by most observers as a best-eventual outcome, other alternatives may be faster and cheaper to deploy. (Watch this space for presentations that will bring more "color" to this discussion.)

Any thoughts out there about the best way to add voice to 4G? Might today's sale of Skype throw a monkey wrench into the idea of charging money for voice going forward? Or will customers pay for video, and voice will ride along for free (an idea put forth by panelist Don Troshynski of Acme Packet)?

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