Telefónica announces landmark LTE voice call technology tests

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- Telefónica Deutschland makes first multivendor VoLTE-to-3G call handover.
- Pioneering breakthrough paves the way for superfast future networks, media-rich commercial services.
- Telefónica to showcase market-leading voice innovations at Mobile World Congress.

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Madrid/London/Munich, 7 February, 2012. Telefónica has become the first network operator to demonstrate a breakthrough new technology that transfers telephone calls from an LTE network to a 3G mobile network seamlessly and without interruption.

This handover was achieved in Germany in a test laboratory environment that accurately simulates that of a real mobile network. Voice over LTE (VoLTE) moves the transmission of voice traffic off older networks designed primarily for voice and onto a data-only network.  The voice call is broken into data bits and transmitted across the network in a similar way that an e-mail or MP3 song would move across the Internet, and guarantees the broadband needed for the best quality.  VoLTE technology is much more efficient than traditional wireless voice services, allowing clearer calls and numerous other superfast services.

"Telefónica has achieved a significant landmark with the successful testing of this mobile broadband network for the future," said Enrique Blanco, CTO of Telefónica.  "Most importantly, however, is our ability to deliver the very best customer experience – which is at the core to our long-term network strategy.  With VoLTE, our customers will be seamlessly connected to a superfast intelligent network that not only gives a top quality voice service – but also a network that opens up a new world of opportunities, such as high definition video calls".

While there has been recent progress with VoLTE technology in South Korea and the United States, today's LTE networks are not able to handover a VoLTE voice call to 2G or 3G when moving out of LTE coverage. This means most networks fall back to a legacy 2G/3G network whenever they make or receive a voice call or as it is the case with South Korea stay within the LTE network. Telefónica's engineers in Germany have demonstrated the SRVCC standard (Single Radio Voice Call Continuity) allows for the handover of a VoLTE call from the LTE network to 3G.

Telefónica Deutschland is the first network provider in the world to demonstrate handover of LTE calls to 3G using SRVCC, with components from several different suppliers, corresponding to actual conditions in today's mobile communication networks.  Handsets and network components from at least six different manufacturers have been used, including Acme Packet, Ericsson, Huawei, NSN, Qualcomm and Sony Mobile.

Future benefits of Telefónica's VoLTE could include HD voice services, faster call set-up, HD video calling, chat applications and other rich-media services from any device or location.