What is VoLTE and how does it work? Here’s why you should care

What is VoLTE? What does VoLTE mean? VoLTE is an acronym for Voice Over LTE. Simply put, Voice over LTE occurs when a mobile network allows you to place a phone call over your 4G LTE connection instead of on 2G and 3G networks. It is voice calls made over a 4G LTE network. VoLTE has up to three times more voice and data capacity than 3G technology and up to six times more than 2G.

How does VoLTE work?

4G LTE networks are data only, meaning that traditional network voice cannot happen over LTE. VoLTE is a technology that carries voice over an LTE network, similar to the way VoIP works. On traditional mobile networks, voice is handled via a circuit switched (CS) system. VoLTE is the replacement for that.

But the problem is that CS and VoLTE networks have some incompatibility issues. As such, whenever a traditional voice call is initiated/received on a 4G smartphones, the phone has to switch to 2G/3G to handle it. This is called CS fallback (CSFB). This is also why pegging your 4G smartphone to 4G-only mode means you are unable to receive and make calls.

In future, all mobile network calls will be handled by VoLTE, but only after 2G and 3G have been phased out. For now, the two technologies exist side-by-side on your Voice Over LTE smartphones.

What is VoLTE - Voice over LTE

Does VoLTE drain battery?

VoLTE is optimized technology to not consume battery any more than EDGE, GPRS, UMTS, and WCDMA do. If you are using a 3rd party app for Voice over LTE though, depending on how well optimized the app is, you might experience increased battery drain. Also, as with all wireless technology, if you are in an area with poor network coverage, your battery will drain faster as your phone does more work to stay connected.

How do I use Voice over LTE?

If your smartphone supports Voice over LTE, you can activate it by going to the phone Settings. Tap Cellular networks or Calls > Voice over LTE settings, and toggle it on.

Once done, your smartphone can receive voice calls that are transmitted over 4G LTE.

If your 4G smartphone does not support VoLTE, you can still do VoLTE calls by using a 3rd party app. For example, SmileVoice app.

Onwards Voice Over LTE

Obviously, VoLTE is a new technology. It is already available in countries like Singapore, USA, China, Canada, and others. In Nigeria, Smile 4G has done trial runs of the service and plans are on the way for a commercial launch soon.

Dual SIM Dual VoLTE

What phones are VoLTE capable?

There are a number of modern smartphones out there with support for Voice Over LTE. They include:

  • Apple iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
  • all LTE-enabled Windows Phone smartphones with GDR1 and higher
  • Samsung Galaxy S4 to S6 and Galaxy Note 3 and 4
  • the most recent Sony Xperia flagships
  • a few devices from Motorola, LG, HTC and others

This is a very short list and has only been compiled to provide examples. The catalogue of 4G smartphones and 4G feature phones that support Voice over LTE is much bigger and constantly growing at a fast pace with each passing year.

What Are The Benefits of Voice Over LTE?

The benefits of Voice over LTE include better audio quality and lower expenses on voice calls, because the calls happen over your 4G data connection.

Voice over LTE In Summary

In summary, VoLTE is the transmission of voice calls over a 4G data connection. It is the way that voice calls on mobile networks will be handled in the future after all 2G and 3G networks are shut down. Some countries have begun that migration already and are already shutting down 2G networks. As at February 2020, these countries include Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ecuador, aswell as Trinidad and Tobago.

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