Feeds

Oops! Mobile masters of universe forget mobiles make phone calls

LTE finally finds a Voice

Top three mobile application threats

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.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Virgin Media so, so SORRY for turning spam fire-hose on its punters
Hundreds of emails flood inboxes thanks to gaffe
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
AT&T threatens to pull out of FCC wireless auctions over purchase limits
Company wants ability to buy more spectrum space in auction
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
Google looks to LTE and Wi-Fi to help it lube YouTube tubes
Bandwidth hogger needs tube embiggenment if it's to succeed
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.