Future of mobile technology: Voice over LTE

During the first 3 quarters of 2016, the number of VoLTE subscriptions has grown strongly and is estimated to surpass 200 million by the end of the year

Report  | 

Key highlights

  • VoLTE subscriptions will reach 3.3 billion by 2022
  • In Asia Pacific, VoLTE subscriptions will grow by more than 1.4 billion between 2016 and 2022

With around 100 million new subscriptions1 in 12 months, VoLTE is becoming mainstream, and the technology has now been launched commercially in more than 80 networks in around 50 countries. Uptake is projected to accelerate and reach 3.3 billion by the end of 2022, making up more than 60 percent of all LTE subscriptions globally.

In countries like the US, Canada, Japan and South Korea, uptake is expected to be even faster, with around 90 percent of all LTE subscriptions using VoLTE by the end of the same period. Live network measurements show that there are already networks where around 75 percent of voice calls on LTE smartphones are provisioned using VoLTE, and some large operators have shown a doubling of VoLTE usage in just 6 months. Roaming and interconnect with VoLTE have started in the Asia Pacific and North American markets. 

VoLTE-enabled smartphones on the rise

The penetration of VoLTE-capable smartphones is rapidly increasing. In October 2016, there were more than 600 VoLTE-enabled smartphone models, supporting different regions and frequencies.2 The GSMA initiative for Open Market Devices (OMD) will further support this development by ensuring that devices with the OMD profile will be pre-configured with the standard VoLTE calling profiles, decreasing the need for operator-specific device testing prior to market launch.3

The VoLTE platform enables services such as HD voice, enhanced HD voice, video communication, IP messaging, content sharing within calls, multi-device, Wi-Fi calling and new service innovations. The VoLTE service will also be leveraged when evolving to 5G.

VoLTE subscriptions by region

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