Feeds

Oops! Mobile masters of universe forget mobiles make phone calls

LTE finally finds a Voice

Website security in corporate America

The strangest of all press releases slid out quietly at Mobile World Congress two weeks ago. The GSMA informed us of a new initiative to set the standard for voice calls on 4G mobile networks.

GSMA VoLTE initiative trumpets a "single implementation for voice", covering roaming, fallback to older networks when LTE is not available, and other standard features of a voice protocol. But um, wasn’t LTE thrashed out years ago? Did they really forget that 4G LTE mobile phones might actually be used for... phone calls?

Apparently so. A source close to the standards process explained to us how:

"Everyone thought everyone else was doing it, so nobody did it," he confirms. "Without a voice protocol no LTE phone user could reach any other LTE phone user."

LTE is the all-data, all-IP network successor to 3G, due for deployment in only a couple of years time, and specifications were first thrashed out five years ago. But this entailed resolving physical and link issues down in Layer 1 and Layer 2 of the network stack. Voice was always just another application. Someone would get around to specifying it sooner or later, except nobody did.

The omission caused alarm amongst operators last year, since they still receive 80 per cent of revenue from voice and text. Eventually OneVoice, backed by Nokia, AT&T, Voda and Verizon was chosen over a rival spec called Volga, backed by Alcatel, the Koreans, and T-Mobile.

You’re probably thinking that any old SIP client will work on LTE, and you’d be correct. But most punters expect a phone to make calls out of the box, and most never use it for anything except voice and text. For the operators to leave voice as a free for all for Skype would mean they already considered themselves dumb bit pipes.

So it's a case of better LTE than never. Now, how’s that 4G text spec coming along? ®

Bootnote

To see the 4G roadmaps in context, see our definitive 8-page guide.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.