Vodafone Czech Republic became the latest European mobile operator to launch new IP-based voice services, although the lack of compatible smartphones continues to limit the number of users that are able to exploit such services.
The operator teamed up with Ericsson for the launch of voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and Wi-Fi calling, and said both services are still in test mode. Wi-Fi calling can also be accessed via an application on non-compatible devices, although the idea with both services is that they do not require an application download and can be accessed directly from the phone dialler.
However, Wi-Fi calling in particular is available on only a very limited range of devices. Like most operators, Vodafone CZ is initially selling the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 edge smartphones
Ericsson said it implemented products and services that will enable Vodafone CZ to offer high-definition (HD) voice and simultaneous surfing over LTE networks, as well as richer communication services experiences, such as video calling over LTE (ViLTE).
Vodafone CZ is also claiming a market first with the launch of the new services according to Petr Dvořák, VP for end customers at Vodafone CZ.
"Vodafone will be the first operator in the Czech Republic to offer on a massive scale such calling services going beyond cellular coverage calls. Thanks to the freely available Wi-Fi calling application, Vodafone customers can take advantage of this modern service on any phones running Android 4.0 or later, so therefore, on all Android phones which Vodafone has on offer," Dvořák said.
While VoLTE tends to provide an improved voice service over LTE networks, Wi-Fi calling enables consumers to use their smartphone diallers to make calls using a Wi-Fi network.
Ericsson noted that this is beneficial to users that suffer from poor cellular coverage. Users can also make operator voice calls at Wi-Fi hotspots across the world.
- see this Ericsson release
- see this Vodafone CZ release (in Czech)
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