According to new research by our friends at Hadden Telecoms, investment in VoLTE services continues to grow strongly in all regions around the world. The latest report reveals that VoLTE services are now available to users on 164 LTE or LTE-A networks and are commercially available in all regions.
The figures mean that 20 per cent of 615 LTE operators now offer VoLTE– up by a third since last year. VoLTE service is now available in 80 countries, showing true global momentum for a service which has been subject to persistent, niggling, analyst scepticism. Despite such cavils, the results are clear: VoLTE is gaining ground rapidly and that is only likely to continue.
The leading countries are the US (with 6 operators having already launched VoLTE services), Taiwan (6), Canada (5), Hong Kong (4), India (4), Netherlands (4), Romania (4), Russia (4), Sweden (4) and the UK (4). Interestingly, this suggests that, in any market, once one operator has led the way, others follow, so we can expect this trend to accelerate.
Indeed, the report notes that a further 69 operators are planning, deploying or trialling VoLTE technology on existing networks or are engaged in on-going system deployments. Taken together, with the 164 commercial service launches reported above, it means that a total of 233 operators are investing in VoLTE-related activities in 102 countries. A press release from Hadden provides more useful data points.
Hadden has also published its first report on VoWiFi deployments around the world, revealing that ‘WiFi Calling’ is now available to users on 89 LTE or LTE-A networks in 46 countries in all regions, representing 13 per cent of the 686 commercially launched LTE networks globally.
VoWiFi allows users with compatible smartphones to use the same telephone number and the smartphone dialler interface to make (or receive) voice calls over a WiFi network, in addition to using cellular networks.
In addition, the report notes that a further 22 operators are planning, deploying or trialling VoWiFi technology on existing 4G/LTE networks. Taken together with the 89 commercial service launches reported above, it means that a total of 111 operators are investing in VoWiFi-related activities in 57 countries.
The report’s author, Alan Hadden, Director at Hadden Telecoms said: “This is our first report on VoWiFi deployments worldwide. Interest in VoWiFi is growing strongly. We shall continue to monitor deployments of VoWiFi technology and related ecosystem developments for incorporating in future report updates.”
Of course, this is a win-win for both operators and customers/business users alike. Users gain a number of compelling benefits, including high-definition voice calls, faster connection times, longer battery life compared to using OTT apps, improved indoor coverage, and enhanced services capabilities. This all adds up to a better customer experience – though many begin to access the service unawares. It will be interesting to see if the differences translate into increased mobile voice consumption – but they are not likely to generate additional revenue on their own.
However, the tangible benefits for operators are clearer. Cost savings from better network efficiency and therefore lower operational costs, reduced customer churn due to more satisfied users, and there may be new enhanced service revenue opportunities – although these have been slow to emerge, despite much discussion.
The report reflects the strides been made by operators around the world in terms of enhancing customer experience and creating additional service revenues, and the necessary evolution of 4G and LTE networks in order to meet the demands of today’s requirements.
Read the research in full, here.
Disclaimer: This is a commercial report. RMA has no beneficial interest in this research or sales of this material.