Chinese equipment vendor ZTE has said it is helping China Mobile to deploy voice over LTE (VoLTE) services on its network in Guangzhou in what it calls an important step to a wider national rollout.
The company says its technology ensures that users do not experience any disruption when switching between 3G and 4G networks for voice calls.
It is using a system known as Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (eSRVCC) to allow seamless handovers between the two network standards.
ZTE (Shenzhen, China) says it was also responsible for China Mobile’s (Beijing, China) deployment in Guangzhou of IMS technology – a prerequisite for the introduction of VoLTE – and that smartphones using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors are able to support the VoLTE service.
“The successful demonstration of VoLTE service speeds up the development of the entire industry ecosystem,” said Sha Yuejia, China Mobile’s vice president.
ZTE appears to have collaborated with a variety of other suppliers on the rollout of VoLTE, noting its use of “network systems and terminals … from different vendors”, and the company said this proved that eSRVCC is a feasible option for China Mobile’s infrastructure in other parts of the country.
ZTE – the main Chinese rival to Huawei (Shenzhen), the country’s biggest telecoms equipment supplier – claims to have led the industry globally on the rollout of VoLTE services on TD-LTE, the 4G system that is being used in China and by operators with ‘unpaired’ spectrum in other parts of the world.
In July 2013, the vendor teamed up with Qualcomm on the testing of VoLTE services using commercial terminals in China Mobile’s labs, and it claimed to have completed calls over TD-LTE VoLTE between Guangzhou and Tianjin in December 2013.
ZTE also said its latest collaboration with China Mobile has brought TD-LTE “closer to commercial reality”.
Ultimately, the widespread deployment of VoLTE should give operators the option of shutting down older network technologies and moving all voice and data communications on to a single system.
China Mobile began rolling out LTE in December and is hoping to cover some 340 cities across China by the end of 2014.
ZTE and Huawei have together won about a quarter of the operator’s $3.2 billion worth of LTE contracts.