What is VoLTE? 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 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?
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.
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.
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.