Followers of the site already know the facts:
- The VoLGA specs have been done for nearly 18 months now.
- VoLGA systems were demonstrated at MWC 2010 (a year ago).
- VoLGA systems demonstrated support for ALL circuit services, plus all those ‘crazy’ advanced services like pre-paid, plus all those ‘boring’ USSD network services.
- VoLGA support in the handset is extremely simple.
- VoLGA is practically built in to the handsets Kineto is supporting with Smart Wi-Fi today.
But that’s not why I wanted to write this post. There are three trends which lead me to believe that while VoLGA may be ‘dead’ today, there’s a new river preparing to rise up.
First, in nearly every meeting with vendors involved with bringing voice over LTE devices to market, there was a universal look of panic/dread/despair. It seems that while these vendors keep up a good front to their perspective (and current) customers, when talking off-the-record, it’s clear there are some major issues with CS-Fallback (not really a surprise), and that IMS is a lot farther away than anyone really wants so say.
Second, we’re starting to have the panic discussions with the mid/low level folks at the service providers – the people who actually have to do the work. They are under the gun to deliver something that looks increasingly difficult. Who knew you may have to align your LTE cell plan with GSM cells to meet acceptable handover delays? Who knew that you end up with a much higher signaling load on the HLR with CS-Fallback? Who new you needed to upgrade your existing GSM MSCs to support CS-Fallback? Who knew that ‘falling back’ to GSM would introduce unacceptable levels of call drops?
Finally, I was amazed at the number of analysts who came by to say “Don’t worry, ‘VoLGA’ may be dead, but the concept is still the fastest, cheapest voice solution for LTE.” “Just wait,” they said. “Give the industry another year or two to really work into a panic, and then re-launch it as a different river…”
There is no doubt in my mind that VoLGA is the fastest, cheapest, most effective way to deliver voice over LTE. While we’re waiting, I think I’ll start exploring other rivers in Europe.