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Hold on to Mobile VoIP While Operators Figure Out VoLTE

 
January 21, 2013


By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
 

In the last decade, there’s been a shift in telecommunications. Companies of all sizes have adopted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in pursuit of the benefits of a converged network.

Quality concerns were addressed, sub-standard vendors were eased out of the market (for the most part) and pricing got more competitive as those who remained streamlined their offerings. 

Today, a new trend has taken hold: mobility. Professionals are on the move, meeting customers in the field, working from home and balancing work and home life on smartphones and tablets.

For many, enjoying the flexibility of a mobile workforce and the cost benefits of VoIP has spurred an interest in combining the two and receiving the benefits of mobile VoIP.

A recent Ovum (News - Alert) blog explored this concept from the operator’s point of view, suggesting there’s no need to rush to deploy voice over LTE (News - Alert). While this is an inevitable reality for all mobile carriers at some time, service and supply issues still remain in the market. Those first to deploy are more likely to get those worked out, paving the way for those who take their time.

In the meantime, operators can continue to focus on data services. Why is this important for businesses and users? As operators try and navigate the migration to LTE, there will be questions regarding the provision of voices services when the LTE network is sitting alongside the legacy 2G or 3G network. Determining the best time to launch voice over LTE, or VoLTE, is a challenging endeavor.

Those who launch too early may have problems with quality of service and the transition as a whole. For the mobile operator seeking to make its mark in the industry, however, the drivers for early VoLTE deployment are clear:

  • Network efficiencies
  • Elimination of a separate voice network
  • Spectral efficiencies that will further reduce costs
  • Quality benefits
  • The potential for new services

The very real challenges that are causing others to hold back include issues regarding support for emergency calls, in-call handover between other networks and the LTE network, problems with the volume of devices that will support VoLTE and unresolved issues concerning the performance of current devices.

For the end user, none of the benefits cited for early VoLTE mean much unless it improves the overall experience at a lower cost. While that may be true in the long run, operators still have to fund the build out of the LTE network and mobile consumers have a tendency to want to pay for the latest and greatest if it really is better. 

Therein lies the challenge. Those operators unable to meet the quality standards in service delivery and operate according to their own internal standards for efficiency in call handling are better off staying behind the pack and focusing their efforts on the data services they already provide. In doing so, mobile users can focus on the benefits associated with mobile VoIP, making the connection between the provider and the quality of service they receive.

Such a strategy is likely to pay off quite well in the long term. 

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