Battle over voice on LTE heats up

Supporters of two different approaches said they have demonstrated VoIP calls

Backers of two competing specifications for delivering voice over LTE mobile data networks have heralded demonstrations in the past two days, while mobile giant Ericsson apparently dropped its support for one of the systems.

LTE (Long-Term Evolution) is shaping up as the choice of most mobile operators worldwide for next-generation networks, but it can't carry voice or SMS (Short Message Service) traffic in the same way today's carrier networks do, because it's a packet-based IP (Internet Protocol) data network.

Equipment vendors and carriers have been lining up around two approaches to handling voice on LTE, called VoLGA (Voice over LTE via Generic Access) and One Voice.

On Thursday, Nokia Siemens Networks said it had recently carried out a voice call over LTE networks at its research and development centers in Germany and Finland. The call used the company's Fast Track VoLTE technology, which it said is aligned with the One Voice initiative.

Nokia Siemens joined heavy hitters including Alcatel-Lucent, Nokia, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and Orange in the announcement of One Voice last month.

The Fast Track system provides a call control technique that is fully standardized by the 3GPP (Third-generation Partnership Project), the governing body for 3G and LTE, according to Nokia Siemens. It takes advantage of IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), an emerging system for deploying wired and wireless services. The company also said Thursday that it would soon test voice calls with a fully implemented IMS platform.

Nokia Siemens' announcement came just a day after Deutsche Telekom announced it had completed an LTE voice call using VoLGA technology. It used independent VoLGA-based systems from Kineto Wireless and Alcatel-Lucent, the German carrier said. On Thursday, Kineto announced a new release of software for its access gateway that the company said supports the VoLGA Forum's specification.

Meanwhile, one member of the One Voice group apparently has dropped its support for VoLGA. Ericsson, a key former member of the VoLGA Forum, has quit the organization, according to news reports this week. The group's Web site, which used to list Ericsson as a member, no longer does.

"That's a pretty significant blow to VoLGA," said IDC analyst Godfrey Chua.

Ultimately, mobile operators with LTE are likely to carry voice and SMS traffic alongside data on a single network using LTE, which makes more efficient use of radio spectrum. But the transition to that point is likely to take several years, while voice keeps going over 3G and older networks, Chua said.

LTE will first be used to offload data traffic from devices such as laptops, to free up capacity on 3G networks, he said. LTE handsets are not expected to arrive until after next year, and carriers expect to keep their 3G networks up for several years. Verizon said earlier this year its 3G network would keep operating for at least five to seven years.

"It's not make-or-break to have a voice solution right away," Chua said. However, carriers want to know what approach vendors plan to take so they don't get stranded with one they don't want when the time comes, he said.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags lte3gmobile services

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?