South Korean Mobile Operators to Launch Commercial Interconnected VoLTE Service, Delivering Higher Quality Voice and Faster Connection
London:The GSMA welcomes the announcement by South Korea’s mobile network operators to launch the world’s first commercial interconnected VoLTE service. The service, which is supported by the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning as well as the GSMA, was officially unveiled by Minister Yang Hee Choi this week and will launch later this month. It will deliver higher quality calls and seamless switching between voice and video, as well as faster connection speeds to subscribers of all three networks. Currently, VoLTE services are only available to subscribers of the same network.
“The commercial launch of interconnected VoLTE services across South Korea’s three operators is a huge milestone for our industry and we congratulate them for being the first to market,” commented Anne Bouverot, Director General, GSMA, “Interconnected VoLTE delivers a real step change in call quality to consumers with a seamless switch between voice and video as well as faster connection speeds. At the GSMA we work closely with mobile operators from around the world to accelerate the adoption of all-IP communications and we hope that South Korea’s example will pave the way for many more interconnected VoLTE services in other markets.”
Dedicated Working Group
In 2012, the Korean government formed a dedicated working group, the ‘VoLTE Inter-working Technology Consultation Group’, to complete the technical standards and specifications. The group included the three Korean mobile network operators SK Telecom, KT Corp, LG Uplus Corp* as well as research institutes the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), the Korea Information Society Development Institute (KISDI) and the Telecommunications Technology Association (TTA). The operators completed network inter-working communications tests as well as handset quality tests this month and with the backing of the government, will fully commercialise the service on a stage-by-stage basis.
“The world’s first commercialisation of VoLTE between operators will enable the fast and instantaneous delivery of voice, video and multimedia services to citizens. This is a significant achievement that will enable Korea to lead in global technical standards,” commented Minister Yang Hee Choi, Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, South Korean Government.
Initially, the three operators will make VoLTE services available to a limited number of subscribers on five types of compatible handset before eventually incorporating all VoLTE handsets. All subscribers will be migrated to the service by November 2015 and have access to VoLTE services across networks. MSIP and the three operators have also formed a committee called the ‘Commercialisation Consultation Group,’ which will be responsible for ensuring the process is completed successfully and on time.
The GSMA’s Network 2020 Programme is working to coordinate further service interconnection within national markets and encourage smartphone manufacturers to include native support for VoLTE. According to GSMA Intelligence data, over 40 per cent of the world’s mobile network operators have launched an LTE network with global LTE coverage exceeding a quarter of the population. GSMA Intelligence also predicts that there will also be 450 standalone VoLTE networks and 300 RCS networks by 2020. There are approximately 80 mobile operators from 42 countries planning to launch VoLTE services with 17 mobile operators from 10 markets already providing them, including Korea.
GSMA Network 2020 Programme
The GSMA’s Network 2020 programme works closely with operators around the world to reduce complexity and fragmentation and promote scale and interoperability of services to deliver better consumer experiences. The GSMA is focused on accelerating the adoption of all-IP communication services for voice and conversational video (VoLTE) and messaging (RCS), ensuring that devices and networks deliver a native, seamless global service.
Notes to Editors: *In order of number of subscribers.
About the GSMA
The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting nearly 800 operators with more than 250 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and Internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors. The GSMA also produces industry-leading events such as Mobile World Congress, Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the Mobile 360 Series conferences.
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