Polkomtel is gearing up to become the first mobile operator in Poland to offer Wi-Fi calling after it teamed up with Nokia Networks to trial the vendor's voice-over-Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) technology.
The company, which operates the Plus network in Poland, ultimately plans to deploy the technology throughout its network to offer improved voice services in locations with poor mobile coverage, such as inside buildings.
During the trial period, Plus subscribers with compatible handsets will be able to make use of the service in Poland and across the European Union.
Polkomtel is also clearly looking ahead to voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services, noting that the common voice core for VoWi-Fi and VoLTE enables a smooth evolution of enhanced voice services.
Justyna Kulka, director of the offer management department at Polkomtel, said the purpose of the trial with Nokia Networks was to fine-tune the service to a degree that cannot be reached through lab testing.
"Thanks to the engagement of Plus users in the testing phase, we expect the final product to fully meet their needs and expectations. Our next goal is to integrate VoWi-Fi and VoLTE as an ultimate solution for voice services," Kulka said.
Mobile operators across Europe are in the process of trialling or rolling out VoWi-Fi and VoLTE to improve the quality of their voice services. The aim of most will be to enable the handover of calls from a Wi-Fi network to a mobile network -- something that is not possible with 3G.
Markets vary on which of the two technologies they are adopting first. In the UK, for example, there has been a strong focus on VoWi-Fi initially, with just one VoLTE service -- 4G Super Voice from Three UK -- currently available on a commercial basis.
France, meanwhile, is placing an initial focus on VoLTE. Bouygues Telecom last week launched a VoLTE trial ahead of a wider launch next year. The operator said it is working on Wi-Fi calling but does not yet "have any firm date to communicate."
Orange France and SFR also plan to launch VoLTE next year, but neither operator has revealed dates for the launch of Wi-Fi calling.
- see the Nokia Networks and Polkomtel release
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