LTE or Long-Tem Evolution is the first IP based network technology to be backed by the mobile industry. The technology will initially be used to provide responsive data services, but at a later stage will be used to for a single, IMS-based voice solution for next generation broadband networks. The initiative already has the backing of 40 organisations, ranging from mobile operators, handset manufacturers and equipment vendors.
The GSMA has announced it has adopted the work of the One Voice Initiative to drive the global mobile industry towards a standard way of delivering voice and messaging services for Long-Term Evolution (LTE). The GSMA’s Voice over LTE (VoLTE) initiative has the backing of more than 40 organisations from across the mobile ecosystem, including many of the world’s leading mobile operators, handset manufacturers and equipment vendors, all of whom support the principle of a single, IMS-based voice solution for next-generation Mobile Broadband networks. The GSMA will also lead the development of the specifications that will enable interconnection and international roaming between LTE networks, and will complete that work by Q1 2011.
“The GSMA recognises the importance of a single, industry-wide solution for voice over LTE and by adopting the work of the One Voice Initiative, we will advance the creation of a global, next-generation wireless ecosystem,” said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at the GSMA. “With the support of the world’s leading players in mobile, VoLTE will generate economies of scale similar to those provided through the ubiquitous availability of GSM-based networks and devices. As mobile operators begin to deploy LTE, it is essential their networks are aligned around one, common standard for voice and messaging services, for the benefit of the mobile industry and consumers alike.”
“Telefonica plans to deploy LTE to provide an improved Mobile Broadband service for our customers,” said Vicente San Miguel, CTO of Telefónica. “It is vital that we also deliver a high quality voice and messaging service that provides the full global interconnection and roaming that we enjoy on our current 2G and 3G networks. Telefónica has led the work with the GSMA on VoLTE and we strongly support this initiative to drive a common voice and messaging solution for the mobile industry, as it is a key enabler for the success of LTE.”
LTE is the first all-Internet Protocol (IP) network technology to be backed by the mobile industry and will be used initially to provide very fast, highly responsive mobile data services. For LTE to support voice and messaging, an IP-based solution that will offer the same interoperable and seamless experience that 2G and 3G wireless technologies offer today is required. IMS (IP multimedia subsystem) can achieve this, and supports all voice call service features such as call waiting, call hold and call barring, and is highly scalable to serve very large subscriber bases. IMS also provides mobile operators with the ability to offer services that can integrate voice calls with enhanced, rich features such as presence, instant messaging and video content, delivered in an interoperable and multi-operator environment.
The GSMA has widespread industry support for its VoLTE initiative and expects additional organisations to join over the coming year. Mobile operators supporting the initiative include 3 Group, AT&T, Bell Canada, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile, KDDI, mobilkom austria, MTS, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SKT, SoftBank, Telecom Italia, Telecom New Zealand, Telefónica, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone. Handset manufacturers and equipment vendors supporting VoLTE include Acme Packet, Alcatel-Lucent, Aylus, Camiant, Cisco, Colibra, Communigate, Comneon, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Genband, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Movial, Mu, NEC, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Qualcomm, RADVISION, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Tekelec. Industry organisations such as the NGMN Alliance, 3GPP and IMTC also support this initiative and agree there should be industry agreement on a harmonised way to implement voice over LTE based on existing standards.
More than 74 mobile operators from around the world have committed to plans, trials or deployments for LTE. The world’s first commercial LTE network was launched recently in Sweden by TeliaSonera, with Verizon Wireless in the US, NTT DoCoMo in Japan and China Telecom set to follow suit in 2010. China Mobile also plans to launch its TD-LTE network this year at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai. LTE is widely regarded as the de facto Mobile Broadband technology that will be adopted by the vast majority of mobile operators globally and is expected to experience substantial growth over the next three to five years: Infonetics Research predicts the number of global LTE connections to exceed 72 million by 2013.