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Google’s Project Fi Trials VoLTE

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

High definition voice. Project Fi users in America will be able to test voice calls over LTE networks

Users in America connected to Google’s Project Fi Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) will be able to take part in a Voice over LTE trial.

Voice over LTE of course allows for voice calls to be carried over data networks, and according to 9to5 Google, will deliver higher quality voice calls than those carried over traditional cellular networks.

And another bonus with voice over LTE is that other activities that use cellular data will not be impacted or slowed down by the calls.

Voice recognition © brem stocker Shutterstock 2012Testing, Testing

Google is apparently able to ensure this by instructing the handset to remain on a LTE network and not drop down to a less powerful mobile network such as HSPA.

According to the report, the initial call setup experience on new devices should be much quicker than before.

Google has also apparently indicated that VoLTE will not count against the user’s monthly data usage.

The VoLTE trial is currently only supported on T-Mobile’s network, as Sprint and US Cellular have yet to give their official blessing to the rollout.

Remember, a MVNO does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers.

Instead, it enters into an agreement with a mobile network operator to obtain bulk access to network services at wholesale rates, then sets retail prices independently.

Project Fi users can tell if they are a part of the test, as their signal indicator in the status bar will continue to display ‘LTE’ when on calls.

Network Initiatives

When Google first mooted its MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) a few years ago, there was speculation it would only work with its Nexus devices.

The MVNO officially launched in the United States in April 2015, and was touted as way for customers to stay connected to the best possible network, whether on Wi-Fi or cellular, and on any device they choose.

Project Fi is one of a number of network initiatives at Google, including Google Fiber and Project Loon, the latter of which aims to provide affordable Internet access through high altitude balloons.

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