Insight: What's Ahead for LTE and VoLTE?

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 with No comments

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) deployments and usage are starting to pick up some steam in the U.S. RCR Wireless News noted this trend, looking at two recent reports about VoLTE evolution and usage.  

The first report, from Tektronix Communications subsidiary Newfield Wireless, examined impact of the VoLTE-capable iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, introduced last October. Its conclusion? 3G voice calling dropped considerably on iOS during the four months following the new iPhones launch. The new models account for a quarter of all iPhones currently in use, a large enough proportion for 3G calls on iOS devices in the U.S. to decline noticeably in the four months following their launch. 

Second, JDSU's annual mobile data usage report includes a new metric: geographic location overlaid with extreme data behavior. Conclusion? Residential zones account for more than half of mobile data usage. Among other findings, the report said 90 percent of mobile data was consumed by 8.58 percent of users. VoLTE usage uptick can only be contributing to this trend. 

JDSU concluded that standard industry assumptions and traditional wisdom isn't a reliable way to plan network evolution. Instead, in-depth analysis is needed to see where usage is actually highest. 

Meanwhile, under the larger umbrella of LTE beyond U.S. borders, RCR Wireless News Americas Editor Roberta Prescott also reported conclusions from Mobile World Congress 2015, including forecasts for Latin American coverage and financial impact between now and 2020.

Prescott noted that Latin America's upcoming 700 MHz spectrum auction, combined with expansion of LTE deployments and coverage, is driving discussion over communications trends in the region. For example, over the past three years, LATAM operators invested $8 billion in spectrum licenses, and most of those investments were tied to 4G network deployments.

Further, at MWC, GSMA's Latin American head, Sebastian Cabello, said mobile telecommunications services in that region contribute to gross domestic product growth, expected to increase from 4.1 percent in 2013 to 4.5 percent by 2020.     

Conclusion? LTE is having some pretty far-reaching effects on national scales, and VoLTE is definitely part of this development. 

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