Are your B2B services ready for VoLTE? With 3G sunset, they need to be

Are your B2B services ready for VoLTE? With 3G sunset, they need to be

3G sunset is going to force the pace of VoLTE adoption and lead to a huge shift away from stopgap CSFB. This will impact many B2B voice service solutions, which are not adapted to the demands of VoLTE or future mobile network evolution. For many, migration to new platforms is inevitable. Read on to learn why.

Yes, VoLTE has been around a while – but it’s about to accelerate

While VoLTE has been around for some years and can be said to be a mature technology, many operators have yet to launch VoLTE services. However, many have plans to do so – and, with the sunset of 3G networks coming soon, VoLTE migration is set to accelerate once again. Indeed, a recent article in the UK’s ‘5G Innovation Briefing’ confirmed this point. This has implications for core voice – and, crucially, given their contribution to profitability, B2B voice services. Let’s explore this topic and explain why action is essential.

VoLTE is, of course, the high-quality voice service optimised for IP that was required when LTE was launched – but which was (oddly) absent from the original standards. As such, voice services defaulted to 3G circuit switched voice – a perfectly workable, albeit temporary solution. This workaround, as you’ll know, was called Circuit Switched Fallback, or CSFB.

When VoLTE came along, VoLTE-capable devices could use the new service, while if one party was not able to terminate a VoLTE session, our old friend CSFB could be relied upon to ensure that all parties could communicate.

When 3G networks are turned off, CSFB will be doomed

Of course, since the early days of VoLTE, devices capable of supporting it have proliferated. Today, almost every smartphone supports VoLTE, which means usage has grown massively. However, most operators have yet to implement VoLTE roaming, which means that CSFB is still required when roaming in another network.

But, with regulators seeking to repurpose 3G spectrum, and with operators seeking to use these spectrum assets more effectively, 3G’s days are numbered. Every month, it seems, we read an announcement from an operator, declaring a firm date for retiring their 3G networks, a trend that is set to spread. As a result, CSFB simply won’t be available for much longer, a fact the GSMA acknowledges, having prepared a useful set of resources to help operators with their own VoLTE adoption plans.

So, all of this means that any B2B voice service that is not fully compatible with VoLTE is going to be similarly redundant – quite soon, in fact. Many such platforms are based on IP but have not adapted to the specific requirements of the mobile network and do not have an upgrade path for VoLTE compliance. Added to which, VoLTE will remain important for 5G, even if there are future voice service innovations – for now, it’s the only game in town.

That’s a huge problem. We’re already seeing signs of this, as we receive more and more enquiries from operators that have systems that have no future, once VoLTE services are launched.

Benefit from B2B voice solutions that are fully VoLTE compliant

We’ve been VoLTE compatible and compliant for years – for so long, it almost seems like an old issue. But, these market shifts indicate that the problem is becoming increasingly significant and that there is now an absolute imperative to seek alternative solutions alongside the necessary network updates to support core VoLTE services as well as roaming.

After all, why would you give your consumers the benefits of VoLTE without also ensuring that your higher value customers from B2B sectors are also able to benefit from HD voice services?

So, if you are challenged to ensure VoLTE support for your B2B voice services, talk to us – we’ll help you deliver.

Want to learn more about Gintel?