Despite mobile services becoming increasingly data-centric, voice will continue to be a key element in mobile world, according to UMTS Forum chairman Jean-Pierre Bienaim‾
Even with widespread deployment of 3G and HSDPA, and after the future rollout of LTE (Long Term Evolution) and IMT Advanced, or 4G, he insisted voice will remain the predominant service over the next 15 years.
'Voice is declining in terms of revenues and ARPU, but it will continue to play a dominate role in terms of traffic volume as it will evolve into rich formats, like video call,' he predicted.
In Western Europe, for instance, simple and rich voice (for both consumers and enterprise), is expected to contribute approximately 26% of the total traffic volume by 2020, he said.
This is part of the findings of a UMTS report submitted to the ITU working party, which is preparing the long-term market forecasts needed to determine spectrum requirements for future development of IMT-2000 and systems beyond IMT-2000.
By 2020, total daily traffic is expected to increase by a factor of 23 times from a decade earlier, growing from 250 terabytes to 5,750 terabytes, thanks to the rapid growth of new multimedia services that drive higher data volumes, the report states.
Meanwhile, Bienaim‾said the mobile industry has made great progress in migrating to HSDPA, with more than half of the 140 W-CDMA operators launching HSDPA services.
'With progress in both modulation and coding schemes, HSDPA will be able to achieve an average data rate of 5 to 7 Mbps for downlink and some 2 Mbps for uplink,' he said.
The advancement in HSDPA and HSUPA would reduce latency and enable the delivery of such services as multi-player gaming with better quality, he said.
The UMTS Forum will also define early next year the type of new services for LTE, with commercial products based on LTE expected to hit the market between 2008 and 2010, as part of 3G evolution roadmap, he added.