In 2016, Telstra continued to enhance our mobile network by delivering new technologies focused on providing customers with brilliant voice and video calling experiences.
Voice over LTE
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is the next generation of how voice calls are carried over our mobile network. When calls are made on a VoLTE enabled handset, VoLTE works by integrating the call into the 4G LTE data stream. Your data will also stay on 4G when you make a VoLTE call which your overall experience will be faster and your calls to other devices that are HD voice enabled on the Telstra mobile network or Telstra’s fixed networks will be in HD.
Telstra launched Australia’s first VoLTE service in September 2015, and soon after we enabled Telstra’s entire LTE footprint with the technology. This means 98% of the Australian population has access to VoLTE from Telstra and we’re currently planning to hit 99% by July 2017.
Our customers are taking advantage of the technology and we’ve seen nearly one million Telstra customers made a VoLTE call in the past month. This figure is on the rise, and we expect to have approximately five million customers using VoLTE by mid-2017.
As of mid-2016, all new 4G smartphones launched to our consumer mobile customers have been VoLTE ready and we expect this to be a core feature for all upcoming post-paid models, with new pre-paid models being progressively supported over time. As always, Telstra conducts comprehensive testing on both the mobile network and the devices we sell to ensure our customers receive the best possible call experience.
With VoLTE now well established, we are rapidly evolving our network and have commenced the roll out of other exciting technologies such as Voice over WiFi and Video over LTE.
Voice over WiFi
While most of our customers enjoy great mobile coverage, there can sometimes be spots in homes or businesses (due to location, terrain or building construction) where the mobile network just can’t reach. Others who still live in remote locations just beyond the reach of Telstra’s mobile network want the convenience of using their mobile whilst they are at home.
To help our customers stay connected in even more places in, during October 2016 we launched clever technology called Mobile WiFi calling (also known as Voice over WiFi). It helps make missed calls due to limited in-home coverage a thing of the past and is an Australian first.
Mobile WiFi calling works by handing mobile phone calls between our 4G mobile service and your home WiFi connection. The handover between technologies is seamless so you can walk from room to room or out the front door and continue your call. It means you can now have mobile coverage anywhere you have a solid consumer WiFi service.
It’s available to our Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge customers now and on many more devices soon via a standard over the air firmware upgrade. Customers just need to make sure they have the latest device software loaded and we will look after the rest.
Video over LTE
The next generation of video technology for mobile devices – known as Video over LTE or ViLTE – was also launched on our mobile network in October 2016.
ViLTE lets those with eligible devices make video calls to other Telstra ViLTE customers using our 4G and 4GX coverage, the same way you make voice calls today. On ViLTE, the voice and video components of the call are independent, which mean you can turn the video on and off during a call without affecting your voice conversation or you can choose to answer a call as voice only if you do not want to be seen.
What sets ViLTE apart from other video calling offerings is that it also provides a consistent data stream for the video, so it helps to provide a better video quality experience.
ViLTE is currently available to Telstra’s Samsung Galaxy S7 customers, but we’ll be enabling the technology on more devices very soon. In future, we will also extend the capability of ViLTE to allow customers to dial into videoconferencing calls.
But there’s more
With these foundational capabilities in the network, we will be able to bring the next generations of messaging to mobile devices and even allow many of these services to communicate directly into handsets, screens and other devices inside the home in future.