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Vodacom launches VoLTE in SA

Owners of the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge as well as other compatible handsets will now be able to make Voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls.

Owners of the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge are now able to make voice calls over Vodacom’s 4G/LTE network. A commercial first in South Africa, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) users will experience faster call set-up times (the amount of time it takes between dialling a number and the phone ringing at the recipient’s end), better voice quality, and additional capabilities such as being able to continue browsing the web or using apps while simultaneously making a call.

VoLTE technology, which enables mobile voice traffic to be carried natively over a data network, was originally demonstrated by Vodacom in September last year. However, until now the service has been limited by a lack of compatible devices.

Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “VoLTE is now officially up and running in SA thanks to these new handsets. Within the next month VoLTE functionality will be added to additional devices, and we expect usage will grow rapidly as more and more handset manufacturers include the functionality.

At present the VoLTE service is available to contract customers who have compatible handsets. There is no additional charge to use this service.

The launch of VoLTE follows on from Vodacom’s roll-out of Enhanced Voice service last year. Available country-wide, Enhanced Voice is comprised of HD voice which significantly increases the clarity of voice calls, Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) which removes the echo that sometimes occurs when making calls and Noise Reduction (NR) technology which eliminates background noise. HD voice is supported by the majority of smart devices while AEC and NR technology is in use by every device on the network.

The implementation of Enhanced Voice last September signalled a step change in call quality for South Africa. Moving forward our next milestone is to include video calling and media sharing as part of the VoLTE service,” said Delport.

How to enable VoLTE

Customers with compatible handsets will need to run a software update to enable the service. The update will be available from 11 April 2015.

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