Today, the popularity of smartphone devices such as the iPhone, Android-based devices and BlackBerry, together with the video and social networking capabilities they enable (and users expect) is rapidly outpacing existing 3G technology's ability to deliver services. Mobile operators are in a bit of a dither over pricing plans for mobile data: witness the switches that AT&T and Verizon have effected in their pricing plans last year and during the early months of this year. None of these operators wants to reduce service usage – that won't go over well with either subscribers or stakeholders expecting growth. So most operators are preferring to increase subscribers’ usage of mobile data by deploying LTE (Long-Term Evolution), a next-generation mobile standard. Among other things, LTE is expected to solve today’s pressing needs for increased mobile data bandwidth as more and more people begin using smartphones and toting tablet computers, writes Alcatel-Lucent in a new white paper entitled, “What's Next for Mobile Voice?”
LTE has gained worldwide support by vendors and operators as the preferred broadband evolution path. It can provide an experience that was previously available only in fixed broadband, due to the technology's high bandwidth and quality of service (QoS). Unlike fixed broadband, however, users can take services based on LTE with them on the go, benefiting both consumers and enterprise users and the service providers who offer the more advanced services and capabilities.
Although the industry is trialing and preparing to commercialize Long Term Evolution (LTE) as the next-generation mobile technology, some may wonder...what are the plans for voice? The confusion and misinformation about this, says Alcatel-Lucent, is partly due to the tremendous revenues mobile operators derive from mobile voice and the opportunity to create disruptive approaches in the marketplace. Mobile operators wishing to compete with alternative providers in voice must find new ways.
According to Alcatel-Lucent, the result is clear — IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) best enables operators to create voice services that include partnering with application and content providers, realizing the benefits of LTE’s all-IP network, and preserving global roaming and interoperability that has been achieved in today’s existing 2G and 3G networks. The company is building a case for starting with or rapidly moving to IMS VoIP as the best method to help operators realize LTE’s potential for innovative and all-IP operational savings, preserve LTE’s bandwidth during voice calls, minimize call setup delays, assure global roaming and interoperability, and avoid the loss of lucrative voice services to third-party ACPs who can readily provide VoIP service in LTE, much as they have in fixed broadband.