What is VoLTE for mobile and how do you use it?

The abbreviation VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE (Long Term Evolution), voice over the fourth generation of mobile communications (4G). But why is there a standard for this? Isn’t it a matter of course that voice, i.e. telephone calls, are transmitted via mobile communications? Yes and no.

Of course, mobile communications are primarily used to make cell phone calls. However, most users now also surf the Internet on their mobile devices. 4G/LTE was developed back in 2009 in order to master the rapidly increasing amount of data. The standard also started in Germany in 2010. At that time, however, telephone calls were initially still made via 2G and 3G – with more power consumption and poorer voice quality. With VoLTE, those times are over.

The advantages of VoLTE

The standard also allows calls to be made via 4G/LTE. The difference to 2G and 3G: With Voice over LTE, telephone calls are digitized. There is also digital telephony in the fixed network. The Voice over IP (VoIP) standard was developed for this purpose. VoLTE is technically based on VoIP.

In contrast to telephoning via 2G and 3G, call setup is faster with VoLTE. In addition, the power consumption is lower, ie the battery in the smartphone runs longer. And the voice quality is better. Because VoLTE is more spectrum-efficient for mobile operators, they can offer their customers video or instant messaging calls.

Voice over LTE does not consume mobile data

Since you remain in the 4G/LTE network when making calls via VoLTE, you can continue surfing the Internet or using online services such as tethering during a call. This is particularly practical if you want to send the person you are talking to brief information via WhatsApp or email during the call, for example.

When telephoning via LTE, you don’t have to worry about reducing your data volume. For VoLTE calls, mobile phone providers do not charge data, but minutes. So if you have a flat rate for call minutes, you don’t have to pay anything for VoLTE calls either.

Also read: LTE, 4G and 5G – the differences between the mobile communication standards

Many requirements for VoLTE use

In order to be able to use VoLTE, the smartphone must support the standard. However, this is now the case with the large number of devices available on the market. For iPhones from the 12th generation, for example, the option is already activated by default.

On the other hand, the mobile phone provider must also offer tariffs that include the standard. This is mostly the case with German providers, including the so-called mobile phone discounters. However, providers abroad do not always support VoLTE, so that Roaming via Voice over LTE sometimes not working. Here the providers therefore often still fall back on telephone calls via 2G or 3G. But even if both are given, VoLTE may not work. Ultimately, the smartphone must also be in an LTE network.

And even then there is no guarantee that a VoLTE call will succeed. The conditions mentioned apply not only to the caller, but also to the person called. If both are “VoLTE-capable”, the conversation can only fail at one point: the standard must be activated in the smartphone settings.