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Network optimization for VoLTE:

Lessons from the field

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Voice over LTE (VoLTE) was first launched commercially in 2012 in Korea. Within just six months,
more than 20 million subscribers were using the service. Growth since then has been steady with
the GSMA claiming 40 operator launches of voice and video over LTE in 27 countries.
http://www.gsma.com/network2020/all-ip-statistics/

The pace of deployment is picking up as the benefits of VoLTE for operators and their
customers become more widely recognized. VoLTE promises subscribers fast call set-up and
exceptionally clear voice quality. They can also do more with VoLTE, such as using fast data
services over LTE while simultaneously making a voice call, and in due course take advantage of
rich calls with integrated multimedia.

For operators, VoLTE is an important service that can deliver greater returns from their LTE
network investments with new revenue streams from rich communications and HD voice
services. Furthermore, by migrating voice to LTE, operators can eliminate the complexities of
running two network technologies, circuit-switched and packet-switched, and can free up scarce
spectrum.

Optimization ensures high performance


With a growing number of devices supporting VoLTE, 75 as of December 2015 according to the
GSMA, acceptance of the service is growing. While VoLTE can be launched rapidly, giving
operators early access to new revenues, caution is needed to ensure that the deployment is well
planned and implemented carefully.

VoLTE touches all parts of the network, making careful end-to-end optimization vital to ensure
the quality of the service will meet the marketing promise to customers. A network that is not
properly optimized for VoLTE can lead to damaging customer frustration and slow take up.
A non-optimized network can cause excessive delays in VoLTE call set up which have been in
excess of 30 seconds in some networks. Call clarity can suffer too with jitter creating packet
retransmissions that severely affect voice quality. There can be a significantly higher dropped
call rate compared to legacy 2G/3G networks, while poor handovers can also lead to call failures.

VoLTE will only be a widespread success if it delivers a better customer experience than today’s
3G technologies.

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The lessons of VoLTE optimization
Nokia has supported a large number of operator VoLTE deployments across the world and has
collectively gathered millions of man hours of optimization experience whilst developing a
number of proprietary tools and patented algorithms. Based on this work we have identified the
most important lessons for VoLTE optimization.

Ensure optimization is joined up


Optimization of the network for VoLTE can be an intricate task, especially on complex
multivendor networks. Optimization needs to be handled as a single, joined up exercise across
the network; simply asking individual vendors to optimize their parts of the network in isolation
will not be effective. Coordinated optimization of the LTE radio access network, Evolved Packet
Core (EPC), IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Telephony Access Server (TAS) and Subscriber Data
Management (SDM) system is needed to ensure a good customer experience.

Ensure seamless connectivity


Optimization of software features and parameter settings is required to ensure VoLTE
performance. Reliable handovers and inter-layer mobility is essential to maintain VoLTE HD
quality. Until LTE coverage is rolled out across the entire network, Single Radio Voice Call
Continuity (SRVCC) will need to be implemented to hand a VoLTE connection over to a CS
connection in a 3G or 2G network when the handset leaves LTE coverage.

Validate available devices


The rate of adoption of VoLTE services by subscribers will be dictated by the availability of
VoLTE-enabled devices. Operators are advised to check the claims of device makers that their
devices support VoLTE and test commercial devices to ensure they work well on the actual
network.

Protect handset battery life


Device battery life is very important to smartphone users. Extended life can be achieved by
using advanced features in the radio network and by optimized handset design. The two main
factors affecting the mobile handset’s power consumption are availability of radio optimization
features such as Discontinuous Reception (DRX) and the handset’s implementation of the voice
client.

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Don’t neglect the transport
Voice is a real time service that doesn’t tolerate delay – you cannot buffer voice. So it’s
important to optimize the backhaul and transport network to avoid bottlenecks building up and
bad Quality of Service. Apply IP Optimization to minimize the number of hops and improve the
round trip time.

Think big
Leading operators are now looking to provide a consistent VoLTE service to their subscribers,
wherever they are in the world. As a consequence, ensuring full interoperability between
different VoLTE networks is the next big challenge to facilitate VoLTE roaming.

VoLTE optimization all over the world


T-Mobile, USA: Boosting the customer experience
Nokia performed end-to-end VoLTE analysis and optimization for T-Mobile,
as well as post-launch analysis optimization to improve Mean Opinion
Score (MOS) and other key KPIs like Dropped Call Rate (DCR) to enhance
customer experience.

Starhub, Singapore: First VoLTE launch in Singapore


Nokia performed end-to-end VoLTE design, analysis and optimization to
help Starhub become the first operator in Singapore to launch VoLTE
services post iPhone 6 launch. Nokia worked with Apple’s team to
extensively test VoLTE services for successful certification and
implementation.

Top African operator: Tackling poor performance


Nokia performed VoLTE analysis and optimization to help the operator to
identify and resolve key issues that were causing a poor subscriber
experience of VoLTE services. The result was increased customer
satisfaction through resolution of long call setup time, low call setup
success rates and handover call drops.

SK Telecom, LG U+ and Korea Telecom, Korea: Supporting


world’s first VoLTE deployments
Nokia has collaborated closely with all three Korean operators to help
launch the world’s first commercial VoLTE services.

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Vodafone, Italy: Five-year VoLTE commitment
Under a 5-year contract, Vodafone Italy selected Nokia Networks to
introduce commercial VoLTE services on its network and optimize network
resource utilization.

Vodafone New Zealand: First VoLTE call on cloud-based


IMS network
Vodafone New Zealand selected Nokia Networks and its VoLTE solution to
conduct the first VoLTE call on a cloud-based IMS network.

Avantel, Colombia: Nokia takes total responsibility


Under a Build-Operate-Transfer contract, Avantel selected Nokia Networks
to deploy VoLTE services in the country, including network planning and
optimization and system integration to enable seamless transition to
VoLTE.

Telenor, Denmark: VoLTE implementation follows live tests


Telenor selected Nokia Networks to supply and implement VoLTE, following
the successful completion of the first voice calls over LTE in the operator’s
live network.

du, Dubai: Complex multivendor rollout in only 80 days


Nokia successfully enabled VoLTE functionality in du’s complex multivendor
network. Nokia VoLTE experts designed, tested and integrated VoLTE into
du’s network and achieved this Middle East-first VoLTE implementation in
just 80 days.

Zain, Kuwait: End-to-end integration helps ensure service


success
Zain engaged Nokia Networks to help it make the country’s first successful
VoLTE call following Nokia’s services support that helped ready the network
all the way from architecture and design to end-to-end multivendor
integration.

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MTS, Russia: First VoLTE call on telco cloud
Nokia helped MTS to achieve its first VoLTE call on a telco cloud
infrastructure using Nokia technology and services to ready the network
for multivendor integration and core migration.

Optimization is vital for top quality VoLTE


As these and other success stories show, end-to-end network optimization is an essential step
in rolling out VoLTE services quickly and efficiently to ensure they deliver ccompetitive, high-
quality voice and video service. With years of experience on total system design and integration
from CS Fall Back (CSFB) to VoLTE, Nokia provides the expertise to execute, verify and optimize
VoLTE in any network.

Further reading:
 VoLTE Optimization White Paper
 Evolve to richer voice with Voice over LTE (VoLTE) White Paper
 Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) White Paper
 Extension strategies for VoLTE: Toward a unified IMS core
 Voice over LTE website

*http://disruptivewireless.blogspot.fi/2016/06/qualcomms-multefire-is-what-lte-u.html

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