Mobile World Congress: GSMA to link LTE networks with One Voice Initiative

More than 40 mobile industry organisations have backed industry association GSMA’s VoLTE initiative to create a standard way of delivering voice and messaging services for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) 4G mobile technology.

The GSMA will also produce specifications to enable interconnection and international roaming between LTE networks by Q1 2011, it said.

GSMA CTO Alex Sinclair said it was essential for mobile operators to be able to link up their LTE networks. “By adopting the work of the One Voice Initiative, we will advance the creation of a global, next-generation wireless ecosystem,” he said.

Telefonica’s CTO Vicente San Miguel said it was also vital for the older 2G and 3G networks to connect to the new LTE networks. “Telefónica has led the work with the GSMA on VoLTE,” he said, calling the initiative “a key enabler” for LTE.

The One Voice standard is based on IMS (IP multimedia subsystem), which features call waiting, call hold, call barring and other features, and is highly scalable to serve very large subscriber bases.

IMS also lets mobile operators integrate voice calls with enhanced, rich features such as presence, instant messaging and video content, delivered in an interoperable and multi-operator environment.

Mobile operators that support the initiative include 3 Group, AT&T, Bell Canada, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile, KDDI, mobilkom austria, MTS, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, SKT, SoftBank, Telecom Italia, Telecom New Zealand, Telefónica, Telenor, TeliaSonera, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone.

Handset manufacturers and equipment vendors that support VoLTE include Acme Packet, Alcatel-Lucent, Aylus, Camiant, Cisco, Colibra, Communigate, Comneon, Ericsson, Fujitsu, Genband, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Movial, Mu, NEC, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Qualcomm, Radvision, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Tekelec.

Industry organisations such as the NGMN Alliance, 3GPP and IMTC also support this initiative and agree there should be industry agreement on a harmonised way to implement voice over LTE based on existing standards.

More than 74 mobile operators around the world have committed to plans, trials or deployments for LTE. The first commercial LTE network was launched recently in Sweden by TeliaSonera. Verizon Wireless in the US, NTT DoCoMo in Japan and China Telecom set to follow in 2010, with AT&T launching in 2011.

China Mobile plans to launch its TD-LTE network this year at EXPO 2010 in Shanghai.

Infonetics Research predicts the number of global LTE connections will exceed 72 million by 2013.

The One Voice Initiative started as a collaboration between AT&T, Orange, Telefónica, TeliaSonera, Verizon Wireless, Vodafone, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.