Rogers has announced that they are the first carrier in Canada to turn on turn on Voice over LTE (VoLTE), the next evolution in wireless calling. VoLTE technology allows customers with a compatible phone to place and receive calls over the Rogers LTE network instead of the traditional voice network.
Here’s the non-nerdy explanation of how this works and why this is a big deal. Currently if you’re on LTE and you make or receive a phone call, your phone drops down to 3G speed until you hang up. Then it goes back to LTE speed. Now the problem with that is that the speed of anything that you’re doing on the phone drops as well. For example, if you get a phone call while your phone is tethered to your laptop, your laptop’s ability to surf the net will take a hit.
With VoLTE, you stay at LTE speed. Not only that, voice calls improve as the way that voice calls are packaged up and sent across the LTE network is improved. That means you get much better sound quality.
Now, there are some caveats:
- Users need a smartphone compatible with VoLTE
- Users need a software update to enable VoLTE
- Users need to be in an area where VoLTE is available
- Users need to be calling another customer that has a VoLTE enabled phone with all of the above
As of now, there’s only one phone that Rogers carries that works with VoLTE and that’s the LG G3 Vigor which coincidentally launches today for $0 on a two year plan. But I would expect that this support will come to other phones soon. For example, the iPhone 6 does support VoLTE. So one presumes that Rogers simply has to flip the switch on that for those users to be supported.