Australia's largest mobile telecommunications provider Telstra is testing out technology that would allow voice calls to be delivered over its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network, instead of falling back to the 2G or 3G networks as currently happens today.
When LTE was first launched in Australia by Telstra in 2011, it was solely a data network that was backed up by Telstra's existing 2G and 3G networks to deliver voice calls. Given Telstra has not yet indicated that it is planning on decommissioning its 3G network any time soon, there has been no rush to get Voice over LTE (VoLTE) working in Australia.
The company is already planning ahead, however, and confirmed to ZDNet that it was testing out the technology to deliver voice calls over its 4G network.
"Telstra is currently trailing VoLTE (Voice over LTE) in our lab environment but have no immediate rollout plans," a spokesperson told ZDNet. "However our customers already experience the benefits of a High Definition voice service on compatible devices across our entire network."
ZDNet understands that the company is looking to deploy VoLTE in 2014.
The company deployed HD voice services on its network in 2011.
Telstra was the first to market with 4G in Australia, and currently dominates the mobile market, with more than 15.1 million active services on its network, and 2.8 million 4G devices. The 4G network reached out to 66 percent of the Australian population at the end of June, and the company is currently aiming to reach 85 percent of the population by Christmas.
The first commercial deployments of Voice over LTE came through SK Telecom and LG U+ in South Korea, and MetroPCS in the US in August 2012. Other international telcos such as Softbank in Japan and Verizon in the US are looking to deploy VoLTE in the near future.
A Vodafone spokesperson said the company had not yet commenced any trials of VoLTE.
Optus had not responded to a request for comment at the time of writing.