The most popular topics during the recent IPX World Summit in London included roaming, VoLTE, and user experience – quality of service (QoS). IPX operators talked about ways to monetize their investments and looked at where the growth will come from in the next few years.
VoLTE seemed to be the “rising star” of the conference. VoLTE brings opportunities; according to Isabelle Paradise with Hot Telecom, an analyst firm that tracks the IPX space closely, international VoLTE which involves interworking and roaming scenarios will represent 26% of total mobile traffic by 2020 (You can find out more by watching this recent webinar called “IPX Services and the Pathways to Innovation”).
And while the conference speakers were talking about how VoLTE calls perform much better, how HD audio is the next best thing, and how subscribers can switch to video if and when needed, I was thinking of one thing: BILL SHOCK.
My home operator launched VoLTE this past summer, interestingly enough, the launch was not supported by one of their full blown advertising campaigns and I wondered why. Was it because voice is not a popular service amongst its subscribers, or is it because not all smartphones support VoLTE, or is it because subscribers might fear a usage increase of their cherished data plan? More data = more €?
Maybe it was because summer meant roaming for many subscribers as they travel abroad, and as we roamers know, data roaming allowance can be very limited and costly.
Will VoLTE kill my limited roaming allowance included in my plan? How are operators going to handle the charges? By minutes as it is now, and in my case, free of charge even when roaming, or by mega bytes? Are operators going to be transparent with their customers? And while I can turn off roaming when traveling and use the cheapest service available to me: voice/sms, I won’t be able to do so in a VoLTE roaming environment. Cedric Gonin, Orange’s strategic marketing director who addressed my concerns, seemed to agree with me, but did not have a clear answer or solution.
Meanwhile it seems that we are not there yet with VoLTE roaming, or at least my operator isn’t. Actually, we are not there yet with 4G roaming, and I’m quite OK with edge or 3G when placing roaming calls, at least for now…
And you? Do you have experience with VoLTE yet? What are your thoughts regarding VoLTE roaming? Tell us by tweeting us at @dialogic.