Telia has launched voice over LTE (VoLTE) in Estonia, with customers with compatible devices able to activate the service online or through the operator's stores.
Telia Estonia said call set-up time would be significantly quicker on VoLTE handsets, with calls connecting “almost immediately”, compared with around five seconds when switching on to a 2G or 3G network for voice.
Kirke Saar, CTO of Telia Estonia, said: “VoIP has been the prevailing technology on the fixed network for some time. In mobile, we have been using older technologies. VoLTE is the next step, here, enabling calls to be carried over the internet in a similar way to data."
Associated benefits include better call quality, improved battery life of devices, and the ability to run 4G LTE sessions in the background, the company said. Calls will fall back to 2G or 3G networks when out of LTE coverage.
Saar added: “VoLTE also creates a premise for various future services, like call recording, intelligent status information, instant messaging, file exchange and so on."
Telia Estonia currently sells only two compatible handsets - the Microsoft Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL. “Talks with several other manufacturers like Sony, Samsung, and Apple for implementing VoLTE support are currently ongoing,” it said in a statement.
European operators are stepping up rollout of VoLTE services. Vodafone launched both voice over LTE and Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) in the Czech Republic this month, and Deutsche Telekom debuted VoWiFi in Germany.
Meanwhile, a report by IHS estimated more than 300 million consumers will be using VoLTE by the end of 2016, with 23 new VoLTE networks launched in the first four months of 2016, as many as were launched during 2014 as a whole. Last year, 40 VoLTE networks went live.