WBA urges action on VoWiFi standards

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The Wireless Broadband Alliance has called on the industry to accelerate rollout of voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) as it seeks to establish standards to ensure scalable and reliable services.

The Alliance has argued VoWiFi should complement cellular telephony and plug gaps in wireless coverage in a new white paper.

Based on the same IMS core as other LTE services, it said the technology affords telecoms providers “huge” savings in their capital and operational expenditure, and also complements future 5G standards.

It suggested poor indoor cellular coverage remains a leading complaint among consumers, despite the fact 80 percent of cellular voice traffic originates indoors.

Wi-Fi calling can extend cellular coverage indoors and elsewhere, it said, and is more efficient than “more expensive” counterpoints like small cells and DAS.

The rise in technologies using unlicensed spectrum for mobile communications is “unleashing exciting opportunities” for operators, according to the alliance.

Shrikant Shenwai, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “Interest in Wi-Fi calling is rapidly growing due to changing market dynamics, customer expectations and VoLTE deployment. It’s increasingly becoming clear that it is no longer a case of if operators will deploy Wi-Fi calling, it’s a matter of when.

“There is therefore an enormous opportunity for mobile operators to capitalise on hundreds of millions of readily available Wi-Fi access points to offer Wi-Fi calling and to provide the coverage that customers increasingly expect. With our expertise and experience, we want to help create best practices and ultimately drive the next wireless experience for people all around the world.”

Deloitte said in January the number of VoWiFi services will double in 2016, with 100 operators globally offering the service. http://www.mobileeurope.co.uk/press-wire/volte-vowifi-services-to-leap-100-in-2016-claims-deloitte

European operators have started to rollout VoWiFi at pace in the past six months. Deutsche Telekom, DNA and Polkomtel have each launched VoWiFi services in their home markets of Germany, Finland and Poland, respectively.