MWC: GSMA Moves Forward with VoLTE Initiative

The organization that hosts the Mobile World Congress (MWC), the GSMA, announced plans to continue the work of the One Voice Initiative under the banner of Voice over LTE, or VoLTE.

The GSMA, the association of mobile operators and related companies that organizes the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, announced it has adopted the work of the One Voice Initiative, which uses current open standards to define the minimum mandatory set of functionality for interoperable IMS-based voice and SMS over Long Term Evolution (LTE), a beyond third-generation mobile broadband standard. The new initiative will be known as Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

The One Voice Initiative is a collaboration among AT&T, Orange, Telef??nica, TeliaSonera, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.

The GSMA's VoLTE initiative has the backing of more than 40 organizations from across the mobile ecosystem, including many of the world's leading mobile operators, handset manufacturers and equipment vendors, all of whom support the principle of a single, IMS (IP multimedia subsystem)-based voice solution for next-generation mobile broadband networks. The GSMA will also lead the development of the specifications that will enable interconnection and international roaming between LTE networks, and will complete that work by the first quarter of 2011.

"The GSMA recognizes the importance of a single, industrywide solution for voice over LTE, and by adopting the work of the One Voice Initiative, we will advance the creation of a global, next-generation wireless ecosystem," said Alex Sinclair, chief technology and strategy officer at the GSMA. "With the support of the world's leading players in mobile, VoLTE will generate economies of scale similar to those provided through the ubiquitous availability of GSM-based networks and devices. As mobile operators begin to deploy LTE, it is essential their networks are aligned around one, common standard for voice and messaging services, for the benefit of the mobile industry and consumers alike."

The GSMA said for LTE to support voice and messaging, an IP-based solution that will offer the same interoperable and seamless experience that 2G and 3G wireless technologies offer today is required. The organization said it believes an IMS can achieve this, and supports all voice call service features such as call waiting, call hold and call barring. It is also highly scalable to serve very large subscriber bases.

TeliaSonera launched the world's first commercial LTE network recently in Sweden, with Verizon Wireless in the United States, NTT DoCoMo in Japan and China Telecom set to follow suit in 2010. China Mobile also plans to launch its TD-LTE network this year at Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the GSMA reported.

"Telefonica plans to deploy LTE to provide an improved mobile broadband service for our customers," said Vicente San Miguel, CTO of network operator Telef??nica. "It is vital that we also deliver a high-quality voice and messaging service that provides the full global interconnection and roaming that we enjoy on our current 2G and 3G networks. Telef??nica has led the work with the GSMA on VoLTE, and we strongly support this initiative to drive a common voice and messaging solution for the mobile industry, as it is a key enabler for the success of LTE."