Earlier this month I came back from the LTE Voice Summit and one of the interesting points many service providers presented was their hopes from VoLTE.
Rightfully there was a consensus that VoLTE will not be a revenue growth generator… Customer retention? Maybe.
Except for one vendor that built a full-blown business model for the service providers showing how they shall increase their revenue by charging premium for video calls I didn’t hear much said about that. To this, my comment to the speaker was that the model has no merit; consumers will not pay extra for video calls, they can do them at good enough quality for free today. Moreover, service providers that already launched VoLTE and support video calls over LTE are not charging extra for those calls.
In many presentations the expectation for revenue came from other services, many based on RCS.
Problem is, launching such services with business models that charges for communication minutes or subscriptions will not help service providers in their battle with the Asymmetric Business Models of the OTTs.
The benefits of VoLTE
If increase in revenue is not something service providers are counting on VoLTE for, what are their hopes from VoLTE?
- 40% Spectrum efficiency
- Network efficiency
- Reduced Opex
Enhanced User Experience
- Faster Call Set-up time
- Better Call Quality – HD Voice
- Simultaneous Voice & Data sessions
- Potential combination with Rich Multi Media services (RCS)
- Improved battery life
- Toggle to Video calling
- Multi-party conferencing
Compete with OTT services
- Counteract to reduce shift of revenue to OTTs
- Enable regional OTTs to offer digital services
Here is my view, what is yours?
VoLTE does bring value to the operator from operations perspective, I wrote about that in the past and therefore will focus on user experience only.
For their battle with OTT – A tool for customer retention, not enough but one that is required due to the benefits mentioned below.
I believe too much was said in the conference about call setup time. It is nice but not a killer thing to my view as a user.
If I had to pick the top 2 benefits they would be:
Better quality – I don’t mean only HD voice, I also relate to the fact that the network is built for real-time communication. Even if the other party is not on a VoLTE network, in some cases quality will be better assuming the other party is on a reliable network (wireline). A complicated topic I wrote about and was the theme of my presentation at the conference.
Longer battery life – Assuming you have a smartphone no need to elaborate
And if you would give me the chance to list a third one, lower in value than the other 2 above, it would be…
Integration of voice and video – This one is third on the list because it can be done with OTT and will have value only once VoLTE is ubiquitous. I believe people will continue to make calls using the service providers for the coming years until a low cost, data only service provider will come along. Since most packages are flat rate, as long as I don’t call long distance no point for me to turn over to OTT (and each time to the OTT my friend is on). Given this, I will be able to easily upgrade voice call to video.
What are your 2+1 picks or maybe you have some other ideas not on the list?