Swisscom hits speed dial with VoLTE and 450Mbps LTE-A network

Switzerland's biggest telco is stepping up its network speeds and capabilities.

With the volume of wireless data traffic doubling every year, Swisscom, the Swiss incumbent telco, has announced its plans for dealing with it – greater bandwidth.

In the push to deliver a faster network, the company is testing the next generation of 4G LTE. Swisscom is using carrier aggregation on its LTE-A network, bundling three LTE frequencies to give a maximum theoretical bandwidth of 450Mbps. Using bundling also increases availability — with more mobile users able to use each cell simultaneously and at a constant speed.

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The new higher speeds — and the smartphones that can take advantage of them — are slated to be available by the end of 2015.

In addition, recognising that the voice part of mobile is often sidelined by operators' data goldrush, Swisscom is also planning to improve voice quality by enabling voice over the LTE (VoLTE) on its network. Currently, its LTE network – like most others — is data only. When users with a LTE phone use voice, they fall back to a 2G or 3G network for the duration of the call.

From next summer, users will be able to make calls in HD quality over the high-speed LTE network.

In a video to demonstrate the difference of using VoLTE, Swisscom also show call setup time is much faster — 2.84 seconds against 8.40 on a phone not using VoLTE). There were also no speed limitations during the VoLTE call — with a downlink of 86Mbps and uplink of 22Mbps against 3.5 Mbps and 80Kbps for a standard call.

The standard 4G network with transmission speeds up to 150Mbps is already available to 94 percent of the Swiss population. The rollout of LTE-A, with double the bandwidth up to 300Mbps, has started in the last few weeks. It will be available in most major cities, including Berne, Biel, Lausanne, Zurich, Geneva, Lucerne, Lugano and Basel by the end of the year. Coverage will extend to some 30 percent of the population by the end of 2015, just as the faster 450Mbps network comes online. 

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