Voice over IP or VoIP may have created the market for sending voice over the internet, but newer technologies like LTE are expanding upon the concept to enable better experience for users of the technology.
Voice over LTE or VoLTE technology allows a voice call to be placed over an LTE network, enabling mobile operators to reduce reliance on legacy circuit-switched networks.
Powered by IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) architecture, VoLTE brings a host of benefits to operators ranging from the ability to reform legacy 2G and 3G spectrum to offering their subscribers a differentiated service experience through capabilities such as HD voice and video telephony.
In a new report by Dell’Oro, the analyst firm revealed that VoLTE revenue declined 9% quarter-over-quarter in 2Q 2018. The segment remained dominated by Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia who, combined, accounted for 70% of the VoLTE market.
David Bolan, senior analyst at Dell’Oro Group, said the success of these three brands is leaving very room for other players.
“The VoLTE market would have increased quarter-over-quarter in 2Q 2018 if the US ban on ZTE had not been in effect. For 2018 the market is expected to be slightly below 2017, but will return to growth in 2019,” he concluded.
The fundamentals of the VoLTE market are still positive and the penetration rate of VoLTE continues to grow. In mature LTE markets, some carriers are beginning to approach a 100% VoLTE subscription rate.
Verizon, for example will reach this point when they turn off their CDMA network at the end of 2019. In low cost markets dominated by pre-paid customers with feature phones, VoLTE phones had been financially out of the reach of subscribers.
But this is changing quickly, as Reliance Jio has demonstrated in India, with their introduction earlier this year of a low cost VoLTE feature-phone targeting the low end pre-paid market.