Change is afoot and soon we might be able to take calls in more places with new cellular technology that are currently in the trials phase.
Vodafone looks to be at the head of the pack, followed closely by EE, Three and O2, all of who have been running trials of their own. The carrier announced earlier this week that it aims to get both its VoLTE and WiFi calling infrastructures up and running by this summer.
What the heck is VoLTE?
Now understandably we have yet another acronym to learn, or rather an acronym that includes an acronym in itself – ‘acronymception’? Anyway, the ‘Vo’ in VoLTE stands for ‘Voice over’ and the plan is to bring voice support to the 4G frequencies some phones currently enjoy.
Whatever you might think your 4G phone is telling you, those superfast speeds are currently set aside for data only, but VoLTE will take all those voice calls currently placed through 2G and 3G networks only and stick them on 4G bandwidths too. This should ensure that calls connect faster, should save your phone power as it won’t have to switch antennas to place voice calls and should result in noticeably better call quality across the board (aka HD Voice).
And what about WiFi calling?
Much like the intentions behind VoLTE, first and foremost WiFi calling should help let users make calls in places where cellular signal is weak or non-existent, sending your voice over a WiFi network instead. It won’t reap the same benefits as VoLTE when it comes to power efficiency, but it’ll keep people connected in more places.
Some of you might be already be familiar with the concept, whether using Skype or carrier’s offerings like Three’s InTouch app. Either way WiFi calling will negate the need for an additional app, letting you make a take calls from the dialler as you would with a conventional cellular call.
How do I enjoy these new features?
As we mentioned at the beginning, Vodafone’s offering an approximate launch date of summer 2015, whilst the ability to use VoLTE also depends on your phone’s hardware. A number of top Android handsets from the last couple of years along with the latest pair of iPhones support VoLTE, but it’ll take a little while for the technology to trickle down to more affordable handsets.