With the Global Mobile Suppliers Association reporting a total of 494 LTE-based mobile data networks commercially deployed across 162 countries, it is reasonable to expect that rollout of closely associated voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services will accelerate within the next few years. And as these VoLTE deployments accelerate, increasing numbers of end users will experience first-hand a remarkable improvement in the clarity of voice conversations along with an improvement in the ability to understand highly accented speech. These advantages are a direct result of VoLTE’s use of High Definition Voice (HD Voice) digital media formats.
In the near future, HD Voice will likely become a significant differentiator for mobile service providers, especially as market competition intensifies. In fact, voice quality plays such a critical role in mobile networks that the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) organization has standardized a newer Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) media format that offers full compatibility with existing HD Voice formats while providing an even greater sense of conversation “naturalness.” Accordingly, with time-to-market and innovation as two keys to business success, it is not unreasonable to forecast that cutting-edge LTE service providers will likely deploy this new “being there” EVS voice technology in the not too distant future.
In the immediate term, the global rollout of VoLTE services will force mobile operators to reevaluate their end-to-end connectivity strategies, and to scrutinize the capabilities of their interconnect partners, both nationally and internationally. When HD Voice calls are placed wholly within a single IMS VoLTE network (between two HD Voice capable handsets), both parties on the call experience a “High Definition Voice” conversation. However, if an HD Voice call originates in one VoLTE network and terminates in a different VoLTE network, then whether or not this conversation takes place in HD Voice depends on the capabilities of any associated interconnect network operators, and more specifically, on their ability to support end-to-end HD Voice sessions. For this reason, the coming deployments of HD Voice service by mobile operators will create new interconnect opportunities. By differentiating with end-to-end HD Voice connectivity and transcoding services, interconnect carriers will be able to meet the needs of VoLTE users for both HD Voice connectivity and seamless interworking with disparate user devices such as webRTC soft clients.
Quoting from a May 2016 i3forum report, “60% of interconnect carriers still have over half of their international interconnect using TDM.” Over the next few years, as more mobile operators require end-to-end connectivity for their VoLTE HD Voice services, interconnect carriers should anticipate decreased demand for lower cost TDM links and increased demand for all-IP end-to-end HD Voice interconnect solutions. The conclusion here is that a compelling growth opportunity exists for agile network operators that support carrier grade IP interconnect solutions and enable HD Voice conversations.
As a key network element providing secure real-time communication sessions and IP-to-IP transcoding at interconnect borders, Session Border Controllers will remain critically important to every network operator’s success, both today and in the coming future. To learn how Dialogic Session Border Controllers bridge the gap between COTS and cloud with both appliance-based and fully virtualized solutions, simply click below and download a Dialogic BorderNet Session Border Controller Solution Brief.