Vodafone UK, announced last week that it will be launching Voice over 4G (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi Calling services this summer. Wi-Fi Calling is a voice service that leverages Wi-Fi connectivity to automatically provide customers a voice signal that allows them to make calls via the native dialer on their devices, without the need for an application. The service is particularly suited to customers living in areas where network coverage is limited or where an indoor signal is non-existent or is weak.
Voice over LTE (VoLTE), on the other hand, allows voice calls to be carried across the 4G data network, instead of having subscribers rolling back to 2G or 3G everytime they make a voice call, as is the practice at present across many LTE networks. VoLTE also uses the native dialer, making it easy for subscribers to establish voice connection using their existing mobile phone numbers.
Vodafone, which has been testing both technologies in its network laboratory for several months will soon see the deployment of both services, allowing its subscribers to leverage 4G and also Wi-Fi for a seamless voice service experience. Another operator in the UK to introduce Wi-Fi Calling service is EE, who last week unveiled smartphone models that will support the WiFi calling feature on its 4G LTE network. Vodafone will be kickstarting these commercial launches with VoLTE user trials which are expected to start soon, said the company.
Vodafone also said that the rollout of its Wi-Fi Calling and VoLTE are part of the £1 billion investment on its network and services across the UK. Both services build on other technology deployments, including the nationwide provision of HD (High Definition) Voice technology, the roll-out of 4G+ (Carrier Aggregation) and the Vodafone Rural Open Sure Signal programme which is aimed at bringing 3G coverage for remote communities.