Three’s beaten EE, O2 and Vodafone to the punch by becoming the first UK network to launch 4G voice calls, which promise better reception, quality and faster call times.
Dubbed ‘4G Super-Voice’, a slightly more user-friendly handle than its industry-name VoLTE (Voice over LTE), the new crystal clear calls tech is primed and ready to roll out to a number of high-end phones, including the recently announced iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.
4G Super-Voice is already available to over 50 per cent of the population, according to Three. This includes indoor coverage, a feat which Three is able to pull off due to it’s use of the 800MHz band of the radio frequency spectrum.
This band was one of the many slices of the airwaves auctioned off by UK telecoms regulator Ofcom back in 2013. It’s situated lower down in the UHF band than other frequencies used by mobile services, which is what allows services on it to travel longer distances and through walls.
Three 4G Super-Voice: All about that bass
Related: Three and Vodafone punters in line for faster 4G downloads – thanks to Qualcomm’s L-band sale If you think about how sound travels for a second, you’ll note that if your neighbour or roommate is playing music at anti-social volumes, it’s the bass tones that you’ll be able to hear (and no doubt feel) more than anything. The same logic applies; lower frequencies signals are better at penetrating over distances.
You bedroom walls might not get shaken by 4G Super-Voice, but at least you’ll finally be able to get decent reception there (if you weren’t already).
Three also plans to upgrade and integrate WiFi Calling later in the year. This will do away with the need to fire up the Three inTouch app, as this functionality will be baked right into the dialler, like it is on selected EE phones now.
While around half of the population can start enjoying the benefits of 4G Super-Voice now, Three aims to expand coverage to 65 per cent by 2016 and hopes to get a million customers using the new service.
Bryn Jones, Three’s chief technology officer, said: “By the end of the year, one million of our customers will have access to better indoor coverage and be able to use their phones in more places than ever before. We are proud to be the first network to roll this out across the country.”
More than three quarters of Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter and London are currently covered for 4G Super-Voice and work has begun on bringing the tech to Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol.
Three 4G Super-Voice: Coming to an iPhone, Galaxy and Lumia near you…
As well as being able to reach more people in more places, 4G Super-Voice calls are faster to connect (they’re near instantaneous, in fact) than typical voice calls and also allow for clearer, more audible conversations.
In short, they’re like regular, ordinary voice calls, on steroids.
Great stuff. So which phones play nicely with 4G Super-Voice we hear you cry? Fret not, we’ve got a full list of devices that are confirmed to work with this new feature right here:
- Apple iPhone 6
- Apple iPhone 6 Plus
- Apple iPhone 6s
- Apple iPhone 6s Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S4
- Samsung Galaxy S5
- Samsung Galaxy S6
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge
- Samsung Galaxy Alpha
- Samsung Galaxy A3
- Samsung Galaxy A5
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4
- LG G3
- LG G4
- HTC One (M9)
- Microsoft Lumia 735
- Microsoft Lumia 640
- Huawei Honor 6+
We’ve asked Three if newer phones like the S6 Edge+ and Sony’s new Xperia Z5 range are included – we would expect so, but those are still to be confirmed.
Customers will get an over the air update when Three’s ready to roll it out to each phone. There’s no timetable yet, but if your phone is on the list above, you should expect to get a notification from Three anytime between now and the new year.