{ Markettagged:True , MatchedLanguageCode:True }

Voice over LTE outlook

At the end of 2017, VoLTE subscriptions(1) exceeded 610 million. VoLTE creates a foundation for interoperable consumer and enterprise communication services on different devices across LTE, Wi-Fi and 5G.


Key findings

  • At the end of 2017, VoLTE subscriptions exceeded 610 million.
  • The number of VoLTE subscriptions is projected to reach 5.4 billion by the end of 2023.
  • VoLTE technology will be the foundation for enabling 5G voice calls.
  • New use cases in a 5G context are being explored, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

VoLTE has now been launched in more than 145 networks in over 70 countries across all regions.2 The number of VoLTE subscriptions is projected to reach 5.4 billion by the end of 2023, accounting for around 80 percent of combined LTE and 5G subscriptions.

Enabling new consumer and enterprise use cases with VoLTE

VoLTE is delivered via the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). It enables operators to offer high-quality, simultaneous communication and data services on smartphones and other devices, across LTE, Wi-Fi and 5G.

Several operators have started deploying VoLTE over cloud-based core networks, to support more cost-efficient network operations and faster scaling of capacity. This network evolution builds upon Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and enables faster launches of new services. It has been agreed in 3GPP standardization that VoLTE technology will be the foundation for enabling 5G voice calls.

Services that can already be launched as an addition to HD voice include: Wi-Fi calling, HD voice+ (improved voice quality and music within calls with the Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) codec), video communication, IP messaging with evolution to chatbots and content sharing within calls. Several devices, such as smartphones and tablets, can share the same phone number (multi-device), while a single phone can use several phone numbers (multi-persona).

New communication service use cases in a 5G context are being explored, such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR).

New devices with VoLTE support

There are more than 1,500 VoLTE-enabled device models.3 Cellular smartwatches are one of the latest commercial devices to utilize VoLTE. As part of a multi-device scenario, devices such as smart speakers could also be IMS-enabled.

VoLTE support in Cat-M1-capable Internet of Things (IoT) chipsets, devices and network infrastructure is starting to be commercialized, and new use cases are being explored. Many IoT use cases could benefit from incorporating basic voice calling functionality, for example, in assistance situations or to improve business performance.

VoLTE subscriptions by region (billion)

1 A subscriber is counted as having a VoLTE subscription if making at least one VoLTE call per month

2 GSA (April 2018)

3 GSA (May 2018), supporting different regions and frequencies

Related Resources

Read more about VoLTE