Home Tech Talks Insights 4G vs VoLTE: Why Should You Upgrade?

4G vs VoLTE: Why Should You Upgrade?

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An employee of Swiss telecom company Swisscom AG displays a HTC One XL smartphone for use with the new ultra-fast mobile broadband 4G network, during a news conference in Zurich November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann (SWITZERLAND - Tags: BUSINESS TELECOMS)

About a year ago, everyone anticipated 4G LTE to be the next big thing in India. But due to a certain Reliance Jio, now the term 4G VoLTE overtook everything else.

However, only a few tech enthusiasts actually know about the 4G VoLTE technology. So we must try to clear your confusions regarding 4G LTE and 4G VoLTE, the key differentiators and which one you should pick.

4G LTE

4G is the fourth generation of data technology for mobile networks. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. Combined, 4G LTE data technology helps cellular network providers to offer high speed data for every 4G supported device. In fact, a 4G Internet is actually 4 to 5x faster than 3G tech. It is however, only a data-based protocol. Through LTE, you’ll only be able to surf the web i.e. – use data. So, every other services like voice calls, SMS messages will actually not be served through the LTE network (they use 2G/3G technologies instead). This means your device will fall back to a 3G and 2G network whenever you do any such activities.

4G VoLTE

VoLTE actually stands for Voice Over LTE. What it means is that unlike in 4G LTE, even calls, SMS and web browsing will be served only through data channels. You’ll be using your Internet data plan to make calls, send SMS or browse the web all together.

There are several reasons why using the latest VoLTE technology over the LTE is beneficial. Below a few popular reasons.

  • High quality voice calls
  • High definition video calls
  • Better battery life – since there’s no network switching happening.
  • Quick call connection
  • Increased VoIP functionality
  • Instant switching between voice and video calls

Currently, Jio is the only carrier with a PAN India license for using the 2300 MHz spectrum.

The Broad Difference

With 4G LTE, you can use data to surf the web, and use apps that require Internet connection etc. All the calls and SMS services will be carried through either 2G or the 3G network.

Fortunately, in the case of VoLTE or Voice Over LTE, as the name suggests, all services like browsing, voice calls, SMS etc. will be handled through the data/Internet. This also enables you to make HD voice calls over the web (similar to the WhatsApp voice calling, which make calls over the IP network).

In summary we can say, that you can use LTE without VoLTE but if you carefully examine definition, it is not possible to deliver VoLTE without LTE. VoLTE is an improved, more refined version of 4G LTE.

The disadvantage with 4G LTE is that when you’re travelling to remote places, you will not be able to make calls since there will be no 2G/3G network to fall back to. But this is highly unlikely – regions across the world are more likely to have 2G/3G networks than 4G.

If you’re upgrading to a new phone, make sure it has 4G VoLTE support.

In the current scenario, Reliance Jio is the only cellular provider that is offering the 4G VoLTE services in India. All of the rest of the big players like Airtel, Idea, BSNL etc. are readying themselves to convert to the new technology in the coming days.