what's the point of volte+wifi calling

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by haoqfu, Oct 3, 2014.

  1. haoqfu macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2006
    So volte+wifi calling is likely to be the future of wireless carrier, but I just can't understand what's the point of this technology besides the improved calling quality. What other benefits can it bring to us, as a daily consumer who is paying more than $50/mon. to the greedy carriers.

    So here are my questions:
    1. All calls via volte or wifi are counting against our airtime minutes, so what's the point of using volte besides occasional international roaming calls (wifi is still needed at this point to make international calls abroad to save roaming charge) and better connection in area where the signal is subpar.

    2. Volte calls are currently implemented internally, i.e among users who are using the service from one carrier, users between verizon & at&t are not able to call each other on volte, as different carriers use different codec. Even if the transcode is completed among wireless carriers, will it be implemented between wireless carriers & traditional landlines?

    Forgive my ignorance if i'm wrong, but I just don't see such a fervour on this technology, could it just be a fancy gimmick more than a revolutionary tech that could benefit our day-to-day life?
  2. Starfyre macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2010
    Can anyone confirm if Wifi calling overseas does not charge you $ per minute that a normal roaming call over cellular would?
  3. 617aircav Suspended

    Jul 2, 2012

    It charges you your normal rate as if you were in the USA.


    Wifi calling helps if you have bad signal where you are. I was in an office building the other day and had 1 bar. Wifi calling came in useful in this situation.

    Volte is currently internal ( which is useful in itself) but surely will improve and expand.
  4. OneMike macrumors 603


    Oct 19, 2005
    Pretty much this. Depending how do you are in a building or location. WiFi may be the only decent signal you have.
  5. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Dec 18, 2012
    Charlotte, NC
    Wifi calling is very useful. I'm in the underground portion of various buildings thoughout the week where no one has cellular signals but we have very strong wifi. I'm one of the only people who can make calls.
  6. willmtaylor macrumors G3


    Oct 31, 2009
    A Natural State
    Ability to make calls when cell reception is limited but wifi is not.

    Increased call quality.
  7. CoMoMacUser macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2012
    Carriers benefit more from VoLTE than their customers. For example, the former CDMA operators couldn't start shutting down their legacy networks until LTE could support voice. Decommissioning CDMA means they eliminate the cost of operating that network and having a CDMA radio in their phones. They also can refarm their CDMA spectrum for LTE. In theory, some of these savings will be passed on to customers.

    VoLTE supports HD Voice, but so does 3G, although many carriers were waiting for LTE to implement it. VoLTE also enables carriers to offer video calling and other services that currently are provided by third parties such as Skype. Those carrier-provided services were possible before, but VoLTE makes them easier to implement, and it gives carriers more control -- such as over service quality -- than third parties have because they don't own the network.

    Intercarrier VoLTE interoperability is a few years off.
  8. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    VoLTE has nothing to do with roaming fees. It's mainly part of the carriers' ongoing transformation from legacy circut-switched telephony systems toward all-IP networking. While VoLTE is conceptually similar to VoIP, it has better quality characteristics, since it is integrated with and optimized for the carrier network using IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem), which guarantees low latency, low overhead etc. VoLTE will allow carriers to further consolidate their wireless services, which will result in better spectrum utilization, more capacity and lower cost in the long run.

    From the consumer perspective, there are a few nice side-effects (such as higher call quality), but otherwise it behaves the same as the existing telephony services, including charging etc.
  9. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Jun 27, 2009
    Your second point is also incorrect, at least with Verzion. From what I understand, you only need two VoLTE phones to get the "bonus" features like clearer voice
  10. haoqfu thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 29, 2006
    Has anyone tried volte calling, how does the quality compare to FaceTime audio?
  11. bollyboy macrumors regular

    Apr 21, 2010
    Manchester - UK
    I've never tried Volte, but conventional calls are such poor quality after using
    FaceTime Audio. I think Facetime Audio is great.
  12. rdy0329 macrumors 6502

    Mar 20, 2012
    Its comparable to FaceTime Audio when calling with supported handsets. Otherwise its just the same as calling on CDMA/3G/2G.
  13. hipnetic macrumors 6502a

    Oct 5, 2010
    Don't voice calls using VoLTE use data? In a future where all calls are over VoLTE, I'm thinking your data usage will go up significantly.
  14. metsjetsfan macrumors 65816

    Feb 2, 2011
    yes but it may vary from carrier to carrier. i think VZ said yes already
  15. winterny macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    Volte has several benefits:
    1) on verizon or att, hd voice is enabled only on volte, not on their 3G or lower technologies
    2) on tmobile hd voice is enabled on their 3G, but it is an even higher bitrate on lte.
    3) even if you are calling someone who is not compatible with hd voice (eg calling a land line or someone on another carrier), you should still have at least your side of land line sound quality. I can now call my grandpa and understand him much better thanks to this.
    4) volte hands off to wifi voice and can receive handoff from wifi voice. Wifi voice allows you to guarantee a strong signal where your carrier does not have good service. (Currently only live on tmobile)
    5) volte may be more (or less) reliable compared to 3G calling because of the underlying implementation. On tmobile in Miami, I drop calls occasionally on 3G, but have not dropped any on volte, as the coverage is somewhat better for them on lte.
    6) volte allows your phone to do simultaneous voice and data over lte, so you can have full speed data while you are on a call. On gsm carriers you would have previously dropped down to umts (which still had acceptable speeds, but slower), but on cdma like sprint or verizon you would have dropped all data as cdma does not support this at all. (Except for a very modern change only supported on a limited number of phones. Apple has not and will not implement this)
    7) this will allow the carriers to further reduce capacity on their 3G networks and add that spectrum to their more efficient lte networks. Over time this will lead to even better service for you.

    The only down side is that currently there are only two networks that have nation wide volte enabled. Tmobile and verizon. Tmobile's implementation supports handoff to their older 3G network, so you will not drop a call as you move to a fringe area. Verizon does not support handoff from volte to cdma, so your call WILL DROP every time you move from an lte area to a 3G only area. How much of an issue this is for you depends on your local coverage scenario. Also, there are some areas for tmobile where they have lte and 2g only, and the same handoff issue will apply there.

    For wifi voice
    1) coverage indoors -- If your house or office is a dead spot, you can easily fix it yourself.
    2) the amount of battery required to talk to wifi is much lower so your battery will last longer
    3) calls from international locations at domestic rates
    4) hd voice at the highest bitrate (on tmobile)
    5) devices indoors cause considerable extra stress for the cellular network. Signals are worse, so devices require communications at lower transmit speeds, which use up considerably more tower resources. By reducing this load, you will allow the tower to be more efficient, and if all others in your area do the same, it will allow coverage to be better when you need it, both in higher speeds, and in wider range. LTE has a phenomenon known as cell breathing, which basically means that as the tower becomes more overloaded, the maximum range you can be from the tower and receive a working signal will shrink.

    Saying that these features only benefit the carrier would be like saying that taking snow chains off your car in the summer time only benefits whomever owns the roads you drive on. Very short sighted.


    Yes it goes over data but it is flagged using special headers and is very noticeable to the billing system as different traffic. Carriers can easily chose to not bill for that data, but it will of course vary from one to the next what they actually do.

    That said, voice data is very low bit rate, even with hd audio. Think 1-2MB per minute max.
  16. Supermallet macrumors 65816


    Sep 19, 2014
    Winterny is correct that wifi calling is useful to the end consumer even if you already have a good cell signal. The less people using a given tower means better service for the people who do have to rely on that tower.
  17. iRobby macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2011
    Fort Myers, FL USA
    I thought Wi-Fi calling was for when you want to go off network and not be charged minutes since you were using the Wi-Fi network and not your cellular service.

    They actually charge you when using Wi-Fi network
  18. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    Has there been any official release from the carriers to answer:

    1. Will WiFi calls made overseas into the US be treated as US-US calls or will the carriers lookup the IP address and charge international rates or roaming rates?

    2. Will carriers count VoLTE calls towards data allotment? If yes, Will customers have a choice to turn off VoLTE when nearing data caps and not get hit with overages for making "unlimited" phone calls??
  19. winterny macrumors 6502

    Jul 5, 2010
    On T-Mobile, their SimpleChoice postpaid plans are all unlimited talk/text, so this isn't really an issue.

    If you happen to be on T-Mobile Prepaid, yes, WiFi Calling will use your minutes. Keep in mind, while it does not use tower resources, T-Mobile does still need to hand off the call to the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), and this does require resources and does have a cost.


    On T-Mobile:
    1) Yes, WiFi calls made overseas into the US are treated as US-US calls. This has been officially confirmed.

    2) No, this will not use your data allotment. Also, on Simple Choice plans, there is no 'overage' charges, once you go over your data plan, you just get throttled. VoLTE data does not count against this bucket. If you are on the Unlimited Data plan (which is currently available on a promo for $50/month unlimited talk/text/data), again, this whole concept is irrelevant.

    On Verizon:
    It clearly states: "No data charges apply."

    As far as what Sprint and AT&T will do -- this has not been confirmed yet.
  20. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    Both VoLTE and Wifi Calling (as implemented by T-Mobile) are based on IMS. The system allows carriers to configure the billing as they wish. IMS can generate charging records based on various different metrics such as duration, data volume, or events. My guess would be that most carriers will charge domestic VoLTE and Wifi calls the same as traditional circuit-switched calls, since it would be confusing and intransparent for the customer otherwise.

    T-Mobile does not charge roaming fees for Wifi calls originating outside the US (i.e. they are charged the same as domestic calls).
  21. mtneer macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2012
    Thanks for the info from T-Mobile (and maybe Verizon). Let's hope that AT&T clarifies soon.

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20 October 3, 2014