MANILA, Philippines - Smart Communications Inc. and technology partner Ericsson recently made the country’s first successful mobile call using Voice over Long-Term Evolution (LTE), or 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,” Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor at PLDT Inc. and Smart said in a statement.
For his part, Sean Gowran, head of Ericsson Philippines and Pacific Islands, said the partnership for the country’s first live VoLTE capability helps cement Smart’s leadership in terms of mobile communications technology, as well as its commitment to provide the best customer experience 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,” he said.
VoLTE, which is currently offered only by a handful of operators in the world, uses LTE or 4G to transmit voice calls.
Once deployed by Smart in its network, VoLTE will allow users with VoLTE-capable devices to stay on the 4G/LTE network even when making or receiving a call.
At present, LTE devices automatically shift to 3G or 2G when such are used to make a voice call.
With VoLTE, a user can simultaneously be in a voice call, while actively using high-speed data for other applications.
Smart subscribers will also be able to make video calls without having to use a third-party, over-the-top app.
Horn said it would take some time for VoLTE to be fully deployed, however, as capable handsets are either still too expensive, or manufacturers have yet to activate the feature in existing advanced models.
“But the excellent results of these tests provide another reason for us to pursue our aggressive LTE rollout across the Philippines, since ubiquitous LTE coverage is a clear pre-requisite to VoLTE adoption,” he said.
Smart is in the middle of a three-year program which seeks to provide LTE coverage in 95 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities.
Through the program, Smart’s LTE service will be made available to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country by the end of next year.