Etisalat to launch VoLTE in the UAE
Etisalat's mobile customers are set to use LTE for full voice and data services on Samsung-enabled devices
Etisalat is set to launch the UAE's first Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service, that will enable Etisalat's mobile customers, both prepaid and post-paid, to use LTE for full voice and data services on a single LTE-enabled device.
At the time of the launch, the VoLTE service will be enabled on Samsung devices.
Saleh Al Abdooli, group chief executive officer at Etisalat, said: "In today's highly-connected world, customers increasingly want faster, more reliable and richer experience.We are constantly working to deliver the most innovative services to its customers and are excited to be the first in the UAE to launch VoLTE services that will offer our customers better quality of calls through improved network performance."
The new VoLTE service is based on SRVCC (Single Radio Voice Call Continuity). It will reduce call set up time significantly as compared to the current call set-up time. It will provide high quality HD voice over Etisalat's 4G LTE network.
So, does it mean people will opt for VoLTE over the popular OTT apps? Al Abdooli said: "Although Internet-based chat apps and messengers have gained popularity in recent years, voice calls continue to matter most when people want real-time, interactive and instantly gratifying connection with their families, friends or colleagues."
Most of the operators have been working towards VoLTE of late. In late 2014, the other UAE telco, du also achieved VoLTE functionality in its live network. Other Middle East operators on the VoLTE bandwagon include Viva Kuwait, Batelco, Ooredoo, Zain and STC.
According to Ericsson's latest mobility report, the uptake of VoLTE subscriptions is expected to accelerate in the coming years, with 2.3bn subscriptions projected by 2021 - equal to more than 50% of all LTE subscriptions globally.
However, the journey isn't going to be that easy. According to Amdocs State of the RAN report, VoLTE call drops can be four to five times higher than calls on 2G or 3G networks. So, though the potential of the VoLTE technology is high, operators need to consider all the obstacles and work on improving their networks to deliver a great experience to the end users.