Following significant global LTE deployments (318 operators in 111 countries), VoLTE is now finding traction. A total of ten operators have launched VoLTE and as many as 66 operators (including the ten operators who have commercially launched VoLTE) in 35 countries are investing in VoLTE deployments. Out of those ten VoLTE launches, eight are in Asia. Explosive demand for mobile data combined with increasing price pressure, greater demand for quality, and competition from OTT players are driving global VoLTE adoption. VoLTE also offers advantages for operators, i.e. higher spectral efficiency, opex savings from consolidation, optimization, and new opportunities for more sophisticated voice-based services.
Korea leads the way
Korean telecom operators lead the way when it comes to VoLTE deployments - not just in Asia, but worldwide. The three major telcos (SK Telecom, KT, LG U+) launched VoLTE in the second half of 2012. Since the launch of LTE and VoLTE, the ARPUs of all three operators have grown significantly.
Since VoLTE rides on LTE (an all-IP data network), it enables high quality video along with HD voice. VoLTE delivers better voice quality and a better end-user experience compared to OTT VoIP services by using Adaptive Multirate Wideband (AMR-WB) codecs. It also offers faster call setup times and simultaneous use of voice and high-speed data services.
The unique combination of HD voice and video enables operators to better compete with OTT providers such as Skype, WhatsApp, and FaceTime which currently provides voice and video communications over data. Riding on operator’s core strengths - like the ability to tightly integrate with their network, track subscribers’ locations, device types, billing etc - VoLTE gives operators a competitive edge.