Vodacom has placed what it claims is South Africa’s first voice call over a 4G/LTE network. The call took place on Thursday.
Chief technology officer Andries Delport says in a statement that this is the first step towards the commercial implementation of voice-over-LTE, or VoLTE, infrastructure. The technology will allow for faster call setup times, better voice quality and an overall improved level of service, he says.
For now, subscribers that connect to Vodacom’s 4G network can only make and receive calls using its 2G or 3G networks. This means that the phones for those on 4G have to step down to either 2G or 3G before they can make or receive a call.
“The migration of voice traffic to the 4G/LTE network will also have the benefit of freeing up capacity currently used to carry voice services,” says Delport.
“Typically reserved for data, the move to use 4G/LTE technology to carry voice traffic will in the future mean better call quality for consumers and a more efficient use of network resources,” he says.
The date for the commercial launch of the service will depend on the availability of compatible devices. “Vodacom is working with the handset manufacturers to ensure the technology is embedded in local handsets.”
Apple’s new iPhone 6, announced earlier this month, will support VoLTE technology.
The company has also announced it is implement high-definition voice calls on its network, following in the footsteps of rival MTN.