Vodafone completes 4G voice call tests

Vodafone has completed its trials for Voice over LTE (VoLTE), meaning end users could soon be able to make better quality calls via 4G services.

Vodafone tested the service with employees at its Newbury, Berkshire HQ, saying the quality of the call was better than when using 3G or 2G and there's some evidence to show it'll also help save battery life too.

Vodafone's Ed Cowmeadow said in a blog post: "4G today only supports data, so when you make a call your phone connects via 3G or 2G by default. So Voice over 4G is us being able to carry voice traffic over our data network, rather than the radio network that normally carries them.

"It's something that's been present in the industry for quite a few years but there are very few operators around the world to have launched it certainly no one in the UK. That's because the idea of moving voice calls over to the data network is a pretty complicated thing to do."

At the moment, it takes a little longer to initiate a call because demo phones are having to switch between 3G and 4G, but Cowmeadow said by the time the service launches commercially, the delay should be less than it is at the moment.

He said, in terms of battery life, trials have demonstrated that 3G is more power-hungry than 4G and 2G, so using the more efficient 4G to make calls, users may find they don't run out of juice as quickly.

Cowmeadow explained how the VoLTE services Vodafone is testing is a demonstration of how mobile networks have evolved: "Modern mobile network technologies use certain modulation schemes' to transfer data and this means 4G has a much greater spectral efficiency' than 3G or 2G. Put simply, it means you can do more in a shorter period of time because of the way 4G maximises the use of the radio resources."

Fergal Kelly, CTO at Vodafone UK, said the trials shows Vodafone's commitment to boost its network: "Our trial of VoLTE, less than a year after the launch of our 4G network, is the next major innovation, and is hugely important as we continue our work to build the UK's best network."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.