Voice Over LTE's Future Is Far From Loud and Clear, Report Finds

Voice over LTE disagreements could lead to industry fragmentation similar to that of the previous 3G rollouts, says Unstrung Insider

Oct 27, 2009

Although mobile network operators and technology suppliers are firmly committed to LTE as the cornerstone for 4G networks, major disagreements about the importance of including voice service as part of early LTE deployments could lead to the kind of industry fragmentation that adversely affected 3G rollouts, according to the latest report from Unstrung Insider (www.unstrung.com/insider), a paid research service from TechWeb's Unstrung (www.unstrung.com).

Voice Over LTE: Many Questions, No Easy Answers analyzes the various scenarios envisioned by the mobile communications industry for providing voice over LTE (Long Term Evolution) service. It examines the different options vendors are proposing and the difficult choices facing mobile operators that view voice as essential to the successful launch of their next-generation LTE networks. Finally, the report also profiles 11 companies, exploring their voice over LTE strategies.

For a list of companies analyzed in this report, http://img.lightreading.com/uni/pdf/uni1009_companies.pdf

"Nearly everyone in the mobile phone industry agrees that LTE is the way forward for data, but that consensus does not extend to voice over LTE as yet," notes John Blau, research analyst with Unstrung Insider and author of the report. "Some mobile operators view LTE initially as a data-only play and do not see a powerful case for rushing into voice, while other operators are worried that LTE without voice could be off to a difficult start."

Lack of progress in developing IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) for mobile applications is seen as a big problem for voice over LTE implementations, Blau says. "Over the coming months, operators, vendors, and the 3GPP standards body will face some tough decisions," he adds. "For those operators that believe voice is absolutely essential to have in their LTE service portfolio from the start, interim solutions will be necessary to fill the gap created by the slow progress of IMS. These interim solutions could create the kind of technology fragmentation that occurred in 3G networks."

  Key findings of Voice Over LTE: Many Questions, No Easy Answers include:

  --  The VoLGA Forum, which proposes an interim packetized approach to
      carrying voice traffic over LTE, has completed the third and final
      phase of its specification process and will pursue standardization
      during 2010.
  --  One major OEM in the VoLGA Forum has no plans to develop, manufacture,
      and market the interim voice over LTE solution.
  --  Most equipment vendors shy away from providing exact information about
      their planned LTE voice products and their availability.
  --  Over-the-top VoIP players may pose a greater threat to network-based
      mobile service players than many of them are willing to believe.

  --  The IMS platform has been slow in coming to the mobile world, and many
      now fear it has become too complex.

Voice Over LTE: Many Questions, No Easy Answers is available as part of an annual single-user subscription (12 monthly issues) to Unstrung Insider, priced at $1,595. Individual reports are available for $900 (single-user license).

To subscribe, or for more information, please visit: www.unstrung.com/insider. For more information on all of Light Reading's Insider services, please visit www.lightreading.com/research.

To request a free executive summary of the report, or for details on multi-user licensing options, please contact:

  Jeff Claudino
  Director of Sales
  Insider Research Services

  Press/analyst contact:

  Dennis Mendyk
  Managing Director
  Insider Research Services

  About Light Reading

Founded in 2000, Light Reading (www.lightreading.com) is the leading online media, research, and focused event company serving the $3 trillion worldwide communications market. Lightreading.com is the ultimate source for technology and financial analysis of the communications industry, leading the media sector in terms of traffic, content, and reputation. Light Reading's research arms, Heavy Reading and Pyramid Research, provide the most comprehensive communications research, market data, and technology analysis in close to 100 markets around the world. Light Reading produces nearly 20 targeted communications events including TelcoTV, Ethernet Expo New York and Ethernet Expo London, The Tower Summit @ CTIA, and Optical Expo, as well as focused one-day events tailored for cable, mobile, and wireline executives. Light Reading was acquired by United Business Media in August 2005 and operates as a unit of TechWeb.

About TechWeb

TechWeb (techweb.com/aboutus), the global leader in business technology media, is an innovative business focused on serving the needs of technology decision-makers and marketers worldwide. TechWeb produces the most respected and consumed media brands in the business technology market. Today, more than 13.3 million* business technology professionals actively engage in our communities created around our global face-to-face events Interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat and VoiceCon; online resources such as the TechWeb Network, Light Reading, Intelligent Enterprise, InformationWeek.com, bMighty.com, and The Financial Technology Network; and the market leading, award-winning InformationWeek, TechNet Magazine, MSDN Magazine, Wall Street & Technology magazines. TechWeb also provides end-to-end services ranging from next-generation performance marketing, integrated media, research, and analyst services. TechWeb is a division of United Business Media, a global provider of news distribution and specialist information services with a market capitalization of more than $2.5 billion.

  * 13.3 million business decision-makers: based on # of monthly connections

  About United Business Media Limited

UBM (UBM.L) focuses on two principal activities: worldwide information distribution, targeting and monitoring; and, the development and monetization of B2B communities and markets. UBM's businesses inform markets and serve professional commercial communities -- from doctors to game developers, from journalists to jewelry traders, from farmers to pharmacists -- with integrated events, online, print and business information products. Our 6,500 staff in more than 30 countries are organized into specialist teams that serve these communities, bringing buyers and sellers together, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently. For more information, go to http://www.unitedbusinessmedia.com/.

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SOURCE: Unstrung Insider

CONTACT: Jeff Claudino, Director of Sales, +1-619-229-9940,
claudino@lightreading.com, or Press/analysts, Dennis Mendyk, Managing
Director, +1-201-587-2154, mendyk@heavyreading.com, both for Insider Research

Web Site: http://www.lightreading.com/