Subscriber demand for more innovative, bandwidth-hungry services has driven most every service provider to build a 4G LTE network capable of providing greater capacity, reduced latency and improved pricing. But to unlock the power of a 4G LTE investment – and to continue to deliver revenue-generating voice and messaging services – carriers must look to embrace Voice over LTE (VoLTE), a core component for a new set of rich media and collaboration services that also enables operators to deliver voice without having to rely on legacy 2G/3G networks.
In short, VoLTE helps service providers capitalize on their new 4G investments. VoLTE enables operators to offload legacy infrastructure and to deliver data simultaneously with crisp HD voice. By blending mobile voice with video, converged IP messaging, the web and social networking, service providers can create new revenue-generating communication services that differentiate them from competitors. The technology is also proven to harmonize conversations across disparate providers, devices and apps.
But perhaps more than anything, VoLTE provides operators with the flexibility to respond to ever-changing technologies, market conditions and user demands. The competitive freedoms of VoLTE allow operators to experiment with and deliver new communication features for broad markets and even strategic industries like mobile healthcare.
VoLTE also provides an avenue for operators to partner with application developers to deliver the best user experience at the lowest cost per bit, solidifying their position in the value chain.
"Regardless of where technology, regulation and competition take the industry in the coming years, VoLTE operators’ investment enables them to act decisively," say Alcatel-Lucent, a leading provider of VoLTE technologies.
In addition to providing a pathway for new converged services, VoLTE acts as a business necessity for delivering voice services via 4G networks, rather than continuing to deliver voice and messaging over legacy 2G/3G networks – an interim solution that doesn't take advantage of the power of LTE.
VoLTE is the long-term industry-designated solution for delivering voice and SMS messaging – two revenue-generating services that have stringent requirements that all-IP mobile networks can't meet.
Unlike temporary solutions such as circuit switched fallback (CSFB) and simultaneous voice and LTE (SV-LTE), which can't enable all-IP communication services like video calls or WebRTC, VoLTE tightly links the voice application to the LTE network, assuring the best subscriber experience in terms of performance, reliability, interoperability and global roaming.
With VoLTE, operators can provide new revenue-generating services such as video-communications and converged IP messaging while still delivering key mobile features like global roaming, global interoperability and a global ecosystem of smartphones and tablets, says Alcatel.
How does VoLTE optimize LTE investments?
Unlike 2G and 3G networks, VoLTE provides seamless IP connectivity between a subscriber’s devices and the Packet Data Networks (PDNs), resulting in improved spectral efficiency, higher bandwidth, reduced latency and Quality of Service (QoS) for new and legacy communication services.
The VoLTE application provides industry-leading reliability for conversational voice, real-time gaming, IMS signaling, and buffered and live streaming video. Other service differentiators include:
- Graceful handover of in-progress voice calls from VoLTE (packet) to 2G/3G (circuit)
- Emergency calling (for example, a subscriber’s call for help to police)
- Intelligent Network (IN) service migration
- Short message service (SMS) over IP
- IMS centralized services
These features give application developers reason to partner with service providers and gain a share of their revenue. For more technical information on how VoLTE enables these functions, check out Alcatel Lucent's most recent addition to its white paper library, Voice Over LTE: The New Mobile Voice.
Path to VoLTE
Enablers like Alcatel-Lucent acknowledge that the path to VoLTE is a serious undertaking that relies heavily on the readiness of an operator's 4G LTE network as well as their competitive situation.
"The VoLTE operator must have purchased 4G LTE spectrum that covers critical markets, and they must have deployed or have a firm plan to deploy 4G LTE’s radios, mobile backhaul, packet core and so on," says Alcatel. "The VoLTE deployment is comparably small when compared to the rest of 4G LTE, yet it too must be done well in order to assure subscribers’ service and win their business."
Before deploying VoLTE, service providers must first consider:
- IN Services: Operators must develop a plan to migrate their IN services from legacy networks to 4G infrastructures. For more information on this topic, check out the IN Services Migration white paper from Alcatel.
- Consistent roaming: Without standards, business agreements and interconnections being finalized, operators need to employ an interim roaming strategy. The most optimum path available is the circuit switched copycat method, which relies on Local Breakout (LBO) to expeditiously route voice traffic.
- Voice call continuity: The majority of operators use SR-VCC or eSR-VCC. Click on this Alcatel white paper for more information.
- Device ecosystem: With the help of early VoLTE adopters, Alcatel-Lucent has been testing and preparing for the launch of VoLTE-capable devices.
The Alcatel-Lucent advantage
As described above, VoLTE deployments hold tremendous value for service providers that rely on 4G LTE infrastructures to drive their business into the future. But to take full advantage of VoLTE, operators must first analyze their current competitive situation and assess their technical assets to ensure an efficient and cost-effective deployment.
Service providers need a partner with the technical expertise to help them with a smooth execution, especially considering commercial VoLTE rollouts are only just beginning. Alcatel-Lucent and its 4G Consumer Communications solution have been at the heart of most every major VoLTE trial, assuring next-gen voice, video and messaging services with the highest level of performance, reliability and service interoperability.
The graphic below illustrates Alcatel-Lucent’s end-to-end approach to LTE.
Alcatel-Lucent's New Conversion Experience enables operators to deliver:
A better user experience: Mobile subscribers can enjoy video, voice and messaging using any combination of device, screen and network.
Connected communities: By harmonizing communications across telecom and web-based networks. Users can easily contact friends and family over social networks. And, through WebRTC, operators can extend their services to anyone with a web browser.
Open for innovation: The solution has easy to use, open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to attract application developers with additional features that inspire and accelerate new conversation services and collaboration.
Click here to learn more about Alcatel-Lucent's "New Conversion Experience." And, for additional information, check out the following Alcatel-Lucent white papers: