VoLTE vs LTE: What is the difference?

If you are here, you are probably confused about the difference between LTE(Long Term Evolution) and VoLTE. It is important to know that there is a slight difference in both technologies. I will discuss both of them in detail here.

If I have to explain the difference (VoLTE vs LTE) in 1 sentence, it will be like this:

VoLTE is like an upgraded version of LTE specifically targeted at improving call quality.

To understand it better, we need to know how calling feature works on LTE phones.

How Calling Feature works in LTE technology?

LTE phones are both 4G and 2G/3G enabled. You normally use 4G data for the internet.

When you call someone, the LTE band gets switched to 2G/3G band and all the process happens via that band.

However, in VoLTE technology, your mobile doesn’t switch bands during calling. Voice transfers happen via 4G only. Since 4G data transfer rates are a lot faster than 3G/2G, we get a superior call quality.

Now you may ask, why haven’t we using 4G during calls in LTE itself?

To understand this, you need to know how data transfers take place betwee two channels. There are two ways:

  1. Circuit Switching: A Continuous flow of data from one end to other.
  2. Packet Switching: Data is transferred in small packets.

circuit switching vs packet switching

During a call, we need a continuous flow of data (voice) from one end to other. So, we use circuit switching method for that purpose.However, LTE works on packet switching. Hence, we have to switch to 3G/2G during the call.

After the VoLTE upgrade, we were able to transfer data in packets so fast that it significantly outperformed circuit switching method, allowing us to maintain a constant flow of data. Hence, we were able to utilize 4G band for calling.

VoLTE vs LTE: What are the benefits?

Superior Calling Quality

While LTE was specifically designed keeping data transfer speed in mind, VoLTE focusses on improving call quality. To be precise, VoLTE technology provides 3 times better call quality than 3G and 6 times better than 2G calls. Essentially it is a really a great experience. It feels they are standing right in front of you.

 

Enhanced Battery Life

When you call someone over LTE, switching between LTE and 2G/3G takes place and this drains a lot of battery life. The problem is solved with the emergence of VoLTE technology when you don’t need to switch between them.

If we talk about numbers, it could save you around 2 hours of battery every day. That’s pretty huge.

 

Price War and Free Calling

The emergence of VoLTE technology in India had initiated the Price War with JIO offering free voice calls. Other parties have also made their move offering free voice calls in India. At the end of the day, it is we people who are benefitting from this price war. Calling rates were already cheapest in India and now they are free. Amazing!

price war between jio and others

Source: Economic Times Article on Price War

Better range and connectivity

VoLTE phones calls are connected twice as fast as 2G/3G calls and hence giving them a winning edge.

It operates at a frequency of 800 MHz. So, how exactly is it helpful?

The signals have high penetration power and they can reach into the deepest corner of the building.

Let me give you a real-life example. It must have happened with you that you tried calling someone and even when their phone was switched on, you got the message “Phone is not reachable“. Well, it happens because the signal was not able to reach the place where you called. In the case of VoLTE technology, this happens rarely.

volte range

 

Aside from that, there are many other benefits:

  • Better video calling experience
  • Real time call translation

and the list goes on…

The Problem with JIO VoLTE and the solution

 

When we talk of normal VoLTE phones, they try to make calls via 4G first. If it is not possible, they switch to 2G or 3G.

When we talk of Reliance JIO, this is not the case. It is only capable of making calls via 4G.

JIO offers free calling to users. But the calling was only possible for VoLTE enabled phones. Now that is the reason why many phones were incompatible with calling feature of JIO. The list included big phones like Iphone 5, 5s and many others.

This was a very big problem. So, they decided to create a solution for this.

It was when JioVoice app landed on the market. If you install this app on phone, you can make calls and messages through this app. Hence, the problem solved.

Here is how to enable calling on non-VoLTE phones using JioVoice

Limitations of VoLTE technology

VoLTE is an amazing technology. Few pros will be HD calling quality, better battery life and better network coverage.

I have already stated that the HD calling is only possible if both people on the call has VoLTE support. Since this is a very rare case, HD calling rarely occurs.

Another issue could have been pricing, but since Reliance JIO is offering free calling. So, it doesn’t seem to be the case.

 

Alright guys, I have added my few cents on this topic. I hope now VoLTE vs LTE makes sense to you. If you liked it, please do share. You are welcome to ask any questions in comments below.

If you liked it, please do share. You are welcome to ask any questions in comments below.

 
Featured Image by Freepik

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