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In this post, you will find out the differences between VoLTE vs VoWiFi, two alternative call features on smartphones. Find out what separates them apart, their benefits, their limitations, and more.
Regular calls are made on 2G and 3G mobile networks. However, the growing cellular technology improvement has brought us VoLTE and VoWiFi features. Both offers improved voice calls in HD exceeding in quality that is offered by the legacy networks.
VoLTE and VoWiFi give us the ability to make calls that are more enhanced and superior to the regular ones on a legacy network. Additionally, we can use these features to call when we are susceptible to low cellular signals from the nearby station or at the time of a network outage.
Both VoLTE and VoWiFi come via IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) core, a standard framework for delivering IP multimedia services such as voice, video or text SMS over IP networks. However, they share some contrast. Let’s find out the similarities, and differences between the two calling methods.
VoLTE or Voice over LTE is based on a 4G mobile network and offers HD voice calls. Part of the reason why it is popular is that it allows phone calls without letting the network fall back to 3G or 2G. That is, you can use both high-speed 4G broadband data and enjoy HD calls simultaneously.
VoWiFi, or Voice over Wi-Fi (Voice over WiFi), also called WiFi-Calling allows you to call over a WiFi internet connection. Smartphone users can use the feature to call or text when there is no cellular network to avail of. The calls and messages appear in their respective call logs and Message app.
Just like VoLTE, VoWiFi or WiFi calling also enables improved voice calls for users. To ensure that you are using WiFi calls, you can turn on Flight Mode. The mode disables cellular networks while WiFi can still work. On the other hand, the service unlocks new revenue opportunities for operators. The technology uses SIM-based authentication as you need to insert a valid SIM card to be able to use the service, contrary to VoLTE which requires 4G network.
When you make VoLTE calls, you will see a VoLTE icon in the status bar next to the network bars. Calls will appear in call logs as usual. But you could notice superscripted HD signs on calls if it used VoLTE.
But the drawback is if there is no 4G network available, then VoLTE won’t be possible either. This is where it differs from WiFi Calling as it doesn’t require a mobile network to make calls. Another limitation is, the call only works on VoLTE-activated handsets within the same network only.
WiFi Calling is available on most modern smartphones. It is a new version of the Generic Access Network (GAN) protocol. Just like VoLTE needs a 4G network to work, WiFi Calling or VoWiFi also requires a WiFi network to enable calls. Upon activation, a new icon appears for WiFi Calling in the notification area of your phone.
The drawback with VoLTe and VoWiFi is that the feature doesn’t come activated by default on both Android and iOS phones. Phone makers might integrate VoLTE on their devices, however, mobile network operators (MNOs) need to enable it with installation of IMS core so that it works on their network. Plus, users need 4G smartphones with support for respective technology and SIM cards to enjoy the service.
Similarly, smartphones need VoWiFi feature included by the manufacturers and then requires telcos’ support for it. When both these conditions are met, users need only to activate the service and enjoy better calls on their phones on a WiFi network. Just like the WiFi data offload, this technology shall help a telco to offload their resources for calling. At the same time, a telco can also use the service in place of international roaming as it allows you to use your mobile number for call/texts, wherever you go.
Fortunately in Nepal, both major telcos Nepal Telecom (NTC) and Ncell Axiata have started VoLTE services. In fact, it has already become widely popular among smartphone users. So any place where a 4G network is available, users should be able to enjoy HD voice on their phones.
However, VoWiFi is still not commercially available in Nepal. So far, government-backed operator Nepal Telecom (NTC) seems the only operator to launch the service anytime soon. At the moment, it is testing VoWiFi service and should launch it once the trial is successfully complete. Once available, you should be able to make WiFi calls to others on any network at local call rates. Also find out: Ntc launches eSIM Nationwide | Learn how to activate?
Most modern-day newer smartphones support technology for VoLTE and VoWiFi services. You can find them from the Settings app on your handsets on your respective phone platforms. Though VoLTE supporting handset ecosystem has increased rapidly, telcos and phone brands have not quite focused on VoWiFi at the moment. So a handful of device support VoWiFi at the moment including some Xiaomi and Oneplus handsets in Nepal.
But with 5G becoming more visible, phone vendors and telcos will shift focus towards voice service on 5G. Just like on a regular 4G, voice is not readily available on 5G, instead it should either rely on VoLTE or go for a new voice call service. So companies will push for Voice over NR (VoNR) over the next-generation network. Nepal Telecom has announced that its 5G trial will start on Magh 22.
If you are curious to know more about VoLTE, and VoWiFi or want suggestions on these features for your phone, let us know in the comments section. We would be happy to help.
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