VoLTE and VoWiFi services will double this year, with 100 operators globally offering the service, a new report from consultants Deloitte has claimed.
By the end of 2016, the number of operators offering the packet-based service will increase six-fold from the beginning of last year. Around 300 million customers will be using either VoWiFi or VoLTE, five times the among who were using it in January 2015.
The report said: “While VoLTE or VoWiFi technologies enable a range of value-added services, such as video calling, we expect the majority of carriers to exploit this additional functionality in later years, with the initial focus being on coverage and capacity.”
However, given the high customer expectations for voice call quality, Deloitte said operators need to ensure their networks are optimised to prioritise voice packets.
It recommended operators keep a close eye on bit-rate, latency, jitter and packet loss.
Telenor Denmark said last month it would launch Wi-Fi calling by the end of this year, after introducing VoLTE in 2015.
According to a recent report from Juniper Research, there will be two billion VoLTE connections by 2020.
Deloitte also looked at the state of the global telecom market and predicted the amount of “data exclusive” consumers would increase. In 2016, 26 percent of smartphone users in the developed world will not make a single voice call in a given week, up from 22 percent last year. Instead, they will communicate through messaging, voice and video services.
Instant messaging has been the fastest growing service, with the proportion of adults using it almost doubling from 27 percent in 2012 to 59 percent last year. In 2015, 43 trillion IMs were sent.
Deloitte said the rise of the data exclusive consumer raises questions about whether operators are using their spectrum in the best way. Instead of offering large voice bundles, they should focus on unlimited messaging plans or improve the quality of data networks.
The decline in voice could help carriers reshuffle their spectrum holdings, and devote more bandwidth to powering data, Deloitte added.