Three customers will be able to make and receive calls on 4G from this autumn
Three has started to add 800MHz spectrum to its 4G network, boosting coverage and allowing users to make and receive calls using an LTE connection.
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be made available to all Three customers from the Autumn and the company expects to have one million users before the end of the year and 7.5 million by 2016.
At present, Three’s LTE network only handles data and 4G users revert to 2G or 3G when making a call, interrupting the flow of data. VoLTE not only ensures a consistent connection but should mean more reliable and better quality voice services.
The rollout of the 800MHz spectrum the firm won in the Ofcom 4G auction in 2013 will increase Three’s LTE reach across the UK and boost indoor signal. Three already allows customers to use their voice and data allowances on a Wi-Fi connection via the Three InTouch application, which now has one million users.
“Our aim is to keep our customers connected wherever they are,” said Bryn Jones, Three chief technical officer. “Adding low frequency spectrum to our network and enabling voice calls over 4G and Wi-Fi, will mean Three customers can stay connected in more places than ever before.”
The deployment of low frequency spectrum and VoLTE is central to achieving Three’s stated ambition is to have the most reliable network in the UK. A number of other “less sexy” improvements such as Software Defined Networking (SDN), Network Function Virtualisation (NFV) and Self-Organising Network (SON) are also in the works, while the operator also plans to use small cells to boost capacity in busy areas.
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