Nov 5th 2014

iPhone 6 drives VoLTE calls, sharp drop in 3G voice calls

BERKELEY, Calif. – Nov. 5, 2014 – Newfield Wireless, a Tektronix Communications company and provider of next-generation Radio Access Network (RAN) geoanalytics, reports voice calling over 3G on the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus devices has dropped sharply across mobile networks in the U.S. and is one-fifth of that on previous iPhone models, as users adopt Voice-over LTE (VoLTE) services.

The analysis is based on data generated by Newfield Wireless’ TrueCall®platform, which is uniquely positioned in the network to provide the visibility and real-time information needed to assess the delivery and performance of VoLTE.

The majority of voice calls made on other 4G-enabled devices are currently routed through legacy 2G and 3G networks, due to the fact that not all networks and devices are optimised to deliver next-generation voice services. iPhone 6 devices are VoLTE-compatible and as a result, U.S. networks have experienced a surge in VoLTE calls since the September launch.

This consumer adoption indicates a growing customer appetite for enhanced voice calls. Operators worldwide are now investing heavily in VoLTE services and there are a number of live commercial deployments. The uptake in VoLTE driven by the new iPhones should act as an incentive to other manufacturers to adopt a ‘VoLTE First’ strategy and launch their own compatible devices.

Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless, explained: “Overall call volumes have remained consistent, but 3G voice minutes have fallen considerably as a result of the uptake of 4G voice services, known as Voice-over LTE (VoLTE). The uptake of VoLTE calls has been triggered by the launch of the iPhone 6, and it demonstrates people like to try new services and have a desire for better quality calls. In fact, our data shows that many customers in the U.S. are now taking advantage of LTE, using their new iPhones to simultaneously enjoy LTE data and voice services on 4G networks.

“VoLTE has quickly had a network impact, and this trend is set to continue as more operators improve their LTE networks and add new features, such as video calling. This is just the beginning as we anticipate VoLTE will become a standard feature on all 4G-enabled devices, eventually eliminating the need for operators to maintain multiple networks,” he added.

TrueCall provides mobile operators with real-time intelligence about what is happening at the network edge, enabling them to make informed decisions about how to optimise network resources and improve customer experience.  In addition to identifying the decline in 3G voice calls on networks and the subsequent uptake of VoLTE, analysis of TrueCall data has also revealed in the U.S.:

  • On average, iPhone 6 and 6 Plus users are already consuming more 4G data than users on all iPhone 5 devices
  • The number of iPhone 6 handsets active on mobile networks is 5x the number of iPhone 6 Plus devices
  • The majority of iPhone 6 handsets that have appeared on mobile networks have been direct replacements of iPhone 5 devices

Migration to VoLTE allows operators to drive network efficiencies and eliminate the need for a separate network to support voice traffic. True Call provides operators with the pre- and post-launch network visibility and real-time intelligence needed to implement VoLTE successfully, ensuring customers are switched on to this new and rapidly growing service. With so many 4G networks primed to deliver VoLTE, it’s important that operators have the ability to manage traffic growth and the influx of new devices, to ensure the best quality services are delivered to subscribers.

Newfield Wireless will be exhibiting at booth no. 34 at the LTE North America conference (19-20 Nov) at the Intercontinental Hotel in Dallas.