VoLTE is finally here in the Philippines
PLDT’s mobile service arm Smart Communications, in cooperation with Swedish-based telco Ericcson, recently made the country’s first successful mobile call using Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE).
“We are excited to be the first network in the country to successfully use VoLTE, because this technology holds so much promise in terms of improving the quality of mobile service available to our customers. Voice will always be an important mobile application, and VoLTE is the platform of the future which will provide the best customer experience when it comes to voice communications,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT and Smart’s chief technology and information advisor.
Sean Gowran, Head of Ericsson Philippines remarked: “This partnership with Smart in making the first live VoLTE capability available in the Philippines helps reinforce Smart’s technology leadership in mobile communications and its commitment to bring the best customer experience to its subscribers in the country. With the introduction of VoLTE, Smart will ensure and further enhance voice quality, while also enabling a broader range of communication capabilities.”
The future of LTE technology
Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) uses LTE, also known as 4G, to transmit voice calls, in contrast to the current standard where calls go through 2G or 3G mobile networks. VoLTE requires strong and ubiquitous LTE coverage, which Smart has been rapidly deploying all over the nation.
“It will take a little time for VoLTE to be fully deployed, largely because capable handsets are either still too expensive, or manufacturers have yet to activate this feature in their existing advanced models. But the excellent results of these tests provides another reason for us to pursue our aggressive LTE roll-out across the Philippines, since ubiquitous LTE coverage is a clear pre-requisite to VoLTE adoption,” added Horn.
Smart is in the middle of a three-year program to provide LTE coverage in 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities. This rapid deployment will make Smart’s LTE service available to 97% of the country’s population, or to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country by end-2018.
Smart was also the first operator to offer LTE-A in the Philippines last year, when it demonstrated the capability of high-speed mobile internet through Carrier Aggregation in Boracay. Now available in urban areas like Metro Davao, Metro Cebu, and in greater Metro Manila, Smart’s LTE-A delivers peak speeds of over 100 Mbps to users with LTE-A capable devices.
“We are constantly looking ahead to anticipate the ever increasing demands of our customers, and to deliver our services in the best possible quality. Our initiatives in LTE-A, in VoLTE, and eventually in 5G, will allow us to do just that,” said Horn.