Telstra tests Voice over LTE

Telstra tests Voice over LTE

Summary: Telstra has confirmed it is conducting lab tests of technology that would allow voice calls to be carried over its 4G LTE network.

TOPICS: Telcos, 4G, Optus, Telstra

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.

Topics: Telcos, 4G, Optus, Telstra


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • How will they survive?

    The big question to ask the telcos is...

    If everything, including voice, goes over the internet, then how will the telcos retain any voice revenue at all? How will they make their voice services better than competitors, when they all get broken down into the same packets?

    Well, the answer is that it is inevitable that voice revenues will eventually disappear completely. The telcos will have to make all their revenue from data. They'll do their best to delay this day coming, but it will come.

    So what is the Plan-B for the telcos? Jack up data rates, maybe?
    • Just look at what's out there now

      Telcos have already thought about this and started transitioning some time ago:

      If you look at Vodafone "Red" plans, all three tiers include unlimited voice and SMS. The only thing that varies is the amount of data included.
      In that case, you could even argue that it may be in the telco's interest to minimise the voice over the network as an increase in it doesn't correspond to increased revenue and takes away bandwidth for data. This breaks down as over the top services are not as efficient on the network, so it's in their interest to use their own voice service, hence the reason you'll probably see it bundled.

      They're all moving to a "connection" model with limits on things like volume of data or in the case of telcos abroad things like bundled services (Spotify etc.) and speed.