VoLTE's slow start is prelude to its future success

Paul Lambert/Ovum
12 Jan 2015

The mobile industry has worked together to make 4G a technological and commercial success. Networks, handsets and operator strategies aligned to make 4G the fastest-growing network rollout (in terms of subscriptions) in the industry’s history.

The world’s leading 4G operators, many located in Asia, demonstrate how to position 4G services to improve key performance metrics. They’ve significantly increased the amount of time people spend accessing the Internet on the go and their surfing habits: more video downloads, more social-networking, more everything. And some operators have shown how 4G can revitalize their brands and make themselves even essential in people’s connected lives.

The success of 4G as a data network is assured, but what about voice in a 4G world?

From Ovum’s research figures: out of 227 4G networks operating today - 43 in Asia Pacific - only 4% have launched VoLTE services. While Asia Pacific leads the regions in VoLTE launches, operators clearly aren’t launching VoLTE as quickly as they did LTE.

The question is: why? VoLTE offers operators benefits in terms of enhanced communications capabilities - including video, HD voice, and presence - but perhaps most importantly it lowers costs through network efficiencies and by using less-expensive chipsets.

VoLTE launches to date

South Korea is the world’s most advanced VoLTE market. Operators there aren’t charging more for VoLTE services, but using them to boost the value of LTE subscriptions to sustain pricing levels and improve customer loyalty.

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