* A caller reported Voice not working in the Bahamas on a Cellular Terminal (Fixed Cellular Terminal, Fixed Wireless Terminal, or Cellular Mobile Broadband Router) for voice and data. These systems have long been popular on yachts because it makes an easy “Cell #1″ line for PBX on board. The caller said they had a Sim Card for Bahamas for 4G. Sometimes incoming calls would work but no outgoing calls would work at all.
This might be an isolated incident … as what I’ve read Batelco still provides GSM fall-back for voice on their system. I really doubt that Batelco recently turned off all of their GSM Voice services and went with something new in 4G that would cause lots of hand cell phones to suddenly become useless.
But a little information on the state of 4G voice would be interesting. It’s very difficult to find a new cellular terminal with Cellular Voice (Circuit Switched Voice) built-in. And I don’t think you will find one that’s 4G only (without fall back to 3G and GSM) with Cellular Voice built-in. This might be because no one has made a chip or chip-set yet that can do whatever the standard is (or will be?) that will be 4G Cellular Voice. It will not be the same. And there are articles about concern over moving subscribers (roaming, traveling, moving …) on a current call going over NEW standard – being handed-off to a tower with older voice service. 4G Voice will be VoLTE … it sounds like a Chevy Volt right? But it is Voice over LTE. It will be a sort of VOIP (Voice over IP) designed for the capabilities in the 4G Carriers infrastructure.
The fact that they just completed VoLTE interoperability testing – The interoperability of LTE and IMS components for Rich Communication Suite (RCS) and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) were tested during a recent Interoperability event simultaneously held at the China Mobile Research Institute in Beijing, China and the Sintesio facility in Kranj, Slovenia – In September to October this year shows you how new this stuff is. See: http://www.3gpp.org/RCS-VoLTE-interoperability-tests.
You see coming out with 4G the concentration has been on Faster Internet Data – not on Voice Telephone. So now more work comes on making the VoLTE part work. Meanwhile Cellular Carriers have had several options to provide voice during the transition to VoLTE – and have to provide backward-compatible 3G Data and 2G Voice.
* I’d be curious to hear of any other readers having experienced a Voice Outage in any location on 4G / 3G / GSM Cellular System – in the Bahamas or anywhere.
See: http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-29/voice-calls-over-4g-lte-networks-are-battery-killers - MetroPCS is the only US Carrier with working VoLTE … and reportedly it is a portable cell phone battery killer.
Why is VoLTE necessary?
This technology is necessary mainly because LTE is a data-only networking technology.
Previous cellular networks, such as 2G and 3G, were designed mainly to carry voice calls–services added cellular data support later through methods that basically “tunneled” data inside of voice-call connections.
LTE turns the network around and uses Internet Protocol packets for all communications. As such, it doesn’t support traditional voice-call technology, so a new protocol and applications for Voice over LTE are needed.
I have a 4G LTE phone. How have I been making voice calls if LTE doesn’t support voice yet?
4G LTE phoneThe not-so-secret secret is that every “4G” phone on the market today, regardless of service provider, also contains older circuitry to support voice calls on 3G and older cellular networks.
So, although you may be using the new 4G network for wireless data, all of your calls are traveling on the older cellular networks right now, just as they always have.
When will VoLTE start to show up?
Since VoLTE requires not just technology on phones but also inside the big cellular networks, it is taking time to roll out. Originally, leading LTE providers such as Verizon and Metrics had hoped to bring VoLTE to market by 2012, but it probably won’t appear commercially until 2013.
Will I be able to roam out of my provider’s coverage area and still make VoLTE calls?
The answer to this question may not be evident for several years, since carrier interoperability–aka roaming–is one of the stickier VoLTE problems remaining.
Unlike regular calls, which are based on predictable, standardized technology, VoLTE allows for a wide variety of implementations, and not all of them will enjoy support from every carrier.
Support for E911 services and compatibility for international travel may also delay VoLTE rollouts as carriers figure out how to blend the new and old technologies during the early transition periods
Vendors Show Voice Call Hand-off Between LTE, 3G Networks
By John Cox, NetworkWorld
Feb 2, 2012 2:55 PM
Qualcomm this week revealed a key step in enabling voice calls over LTE handsets. Working with Ericsson, the chipmaker says it recently completed the first voice call handover between LTE and 3G networks, and will showcase the achievement later this month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The hand-off was made on Dec. 23, using a handset with a Qualcomm chipset to pass a voice call from an Ericsson LTE network to a WCDMA 3G network, via a standard called Single Radio Voice Call Continuity, or SRVCC. The achievement shows a viable blending of emerging LTE networks with existing 3G networks for voice.
Voice-over LTE, or VoLTE, is still in its infancy: the advanced cellular network today is mainly for data “calls.” LTE smartphones today make use of two baseband chips, one for LTE data calls, and a separate one for voice calls that are delivered via 3G or 2G connections. VoLTE is still missing in action. Even Verizon, the most aggressive of U.S. carriers in deploying LTE, doesn’t yet implement it. It began testing VoLTE in 2011, but still won’t say when it will be ready.
Evolving your voice – VoLTE, WCDMA+ and more (Qualcomm)
Quick question for you—what technology do you use when you make a voice call on your shiny new 4G LTE smartphone? Answer – 3G, and in some cases even 2G!
Surprised? LTE is currently a data-only service, meaning, whenever LTE users make a voice call, the device falls back to the local 3G (or 2G) network, and places the call. And it will be so, for some time to come!
If you are wondering “why?” and “how?”—well, you have come to the right place! Read on to understand the Voice Evolution that is currently underway.
In the long-term, the industry is moving toward packet-based, rich-voice, referred to as VoIP (Voice over IP), which brings exciting voice services such as integrated-presence and multimedia sharing during voice call, video telephony and many more. VoLTE (VoIP over LTE) and VoIP over HSPA+ and EV-DO enable operators to offer these much-desired services and create new revenue opportunities.
A key point during this long transition is the extended lifespan of today’s traditional circuit-switched (CS) voice services. CS voice, characterized by its excellent-quality, reliability and ubiquitous global coverage, continues to evolve and increase its efficiency. The main benefit of this increased voice efficiency is its ability to free-up resources for rapidly growing data services.
1X Advanced, the next step for today’s CDMA2000 1X networks almost quadruples the voice capacity, freeing up almost 3/4th of the spectrum for data services. No wonder there is a lot of operator interest in 1X Advanced, including major operators such as Sprint.
Similarly, WCDMA+, which is the next step for WCDMA, triples voice efficiency, thereby freeing up resources for data (up to 2/3rd of a 5 MHz carrier). With 2 billion HSPA+ subscribers projected to be using WCDMA for voice in 2015, the decision to evolve the networks to WCDMA+ is a no-brainer for most HSPA+ operators.
Now, coming to VoLTE, as is the case when bringing any new technology to market, VoLTE will be deployed in phases, which means that when users move out of the LTE coverage area, VoLTE calls will have to be handed off to CS voice. In that scenario, a feature called SRVCC (Single Radio Voice Call Connectivity) comes to the rescue, making the handoff from VoLTE to CS voice seamless, reliable and transparent to users.
As mentioned above, the main attraction of VoLTE is its ability to offer rich-voice services, but when calls hand off to CS, only voice is moved over, not the other services. This means, operators have to evolve their networks to VoIP over HSPA+/EV-DO in parallel to VoLTE to offer rich-voice services ubiquitously across all of their coverage area.
Qualcomm (the company responsible for innovating 1X Advanced and WCDMA+) is now leading the voice evolution, spearheading the development of VoLTE and VoIP over HSPA+/EV-DO. Moreover, we demonstrated the world’s first SRVCC hand-off between VoLTE and 3G voice with Ericsson in Feb 2012.
If any of this is confusing to you, here’s the bottom line on voice evolution:
•For now: CS voice
•In the near future: VoLTE with SRVCC
•In the long-term: Full VoIP with VoLTE and VoIP over HSPA+/EV-DO
•Along the way continue to evolve and increase efficiency of CS Voice with 1X Advanced and WCDMA+
* Alan’s Note: Hopefully we don’t just remember Qualcomm for the Eudora Email Program that was popular as a POP Email Client in the earlier days of the Internet (they also provided Qpopper for Unix which was used by many as their POP3 Server) – But they have been in the Cellular Game for a long time, I even remember having a Qualcomm cellphone as one of my early cellular phone devices. Qualcomm seems to be making a name for themselves again by providing Snapdragon Processors … Chips with everything on one chip. The S4 with everything from CPU to GPU (Graphics Processor) – to Wi-Fi, Modem (3G, 4G), Bluetooth, GPS, HDMI, USB … The more important in this discussion is Modem – and Voice over 4G called VoLTE with SRVCC (see above article.)
Alan Spicer Marine Telecom
+1 954 683 3426
communications @ marinetelecom.net