Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) – Cell Phone Carriers’ Worst Enemy
When Voice over IP (VoIP) started popping up in services like Skype and MagicJack, plain-old telephone services (POTS) quickly started taking it personally, and started attempting to keep their customer bases in line. Of course, they still have customers for one big reason: They still offer one of the most reliable ways to call 911/112/whatever your country’s emergency phone number is. Now, there’s a (relatively) new technology hitting the market hard, and I mean really really hard. Its name is Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and it promises to send cell phone carriers on a run for their money.
With that said, it’s important to know that cell phone carriers aren’t instantly going to lose money over this. They’re still going to make money by charging you whatever they want to charge you for 3G/4G service.
But… What About mVoIP?
For those of you who don’t know, mVoIP, or mobile Voice over Internet Protocol, is a service that uses the 3G connection on your phone to deliver voice capabilities. It means that you can literally make calls through your mobile Internet connection, instead of using the carrier’s cell tower to route your call. You still end up using the cell tower, though. The important part is that your call isn’t going to be metered, meaning you won’t get charged for the phone call on your bill, but you’ll be charged for the traffic you use on the Web. In carriers where 3G is cheaper than a metered call, you’re set for cheaper service.
There’s one problem, though… 3G can be unreliable and extremely slow. That’s why many people prefer to rely on metered services rather than mVoIP. Then again, the huge piles of money enjoyed by carriers from metered calls when subscribers go over their minutes might come to an end anyway, because of VoLTE.
What Does VoLTE Offer?
Let’s make one thing clear: VoLTE is a part of the spectrum of mVoIP. As long as you keep this in mind, you’ll understand and not make a distinction between the two. The thing is, until now, there have only been phones on mVoIP 3G service. VoLTE uses the 4G LTE broadband service, also known as 3GPP LTE. This service, contrary to 3G, provides a suitable amount of broadband (comparable to a home broadband connection) and drops off less frequently. It’s perfect for people who are stationary or travelling within the city.
The summary: VoLTE lets you make phone calls through your LTE Internet service. Faster = Good. Less Drop-Offs = Good. Cell phone carriers can’t charge you anymore for metered calls = Awesome.
In fact, we might even see video call possibilities from standard VoLTE packages. There’s one problem, though:
VoLTE Might Cause Carriers to React
For every person that comes up with a wonderful invention that will liberate the consumer, there’s always someone who takes it personally and either files an injunction against the person/company offering the service, or cry about it and attempt to make it illegal.
Instead of adapting, a vast majority of companies attempt to “stick it” to the customer, putting an emphasis on pushing forth their own proprietary services for a buttload of money, usually making it nearly impossible to find free services. You see, here’s the pattern:
- A carrier decides to play it dumb and offers very cheap 4G service to their customers, at around the price it should be for them to score a decent (albeit not obscene) amount of profit.
- Other carriers jump on the poor little carrier before everyone discovers what this carrier wants to do.
Here’s the problem: If a person decides to use VoLTE principally, and pays only a fixed rate of, say, $20-30 a month, the carrier will no longer benefit from the extra cash shelled out on metered service. Yeah, companies can still offer 4G LTE services as part of a full package, making the customer pay more, but it’s only a matter of time until a carrier makes the “stupid” move of offering customers an LTE-only package with a minimal cell service costing around $20-30 a month – 500 minutes a month included for emergency use.
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