WhatsApp recently announced that it will be introducing voice calling in the next few months. According to network software engineers this means huge changes ahead for networks that will result in the death of 3G calls, the start of HD chatting, better video calls and more.
Voice over LTE, or VoLTE, is more bandwidth efficient than traditional 3G calling. That means WhatsApp will be able to offer high definition calls more efficiently than current efforts. So what does that leave for network providers?
Mark Windle, head of marketing at telecoms software provider OpenCloud says: "Usage of VoLTE will gradually replace the mobile calls we have today". It should start to roll out in the next year or two with 3G calls dead and gone within ten years, he says.
The problem that will arise is too much pressure on data bandwidths. Something the Artemis P Cell could change by making your phone 1000 times faster than 4G, but that's a different network idea entirely.
So as VoLTE calling makes things more efficient it could also cause more trouble. Mark says: "Some of the efficiency savings will be lost to high-definition voice calls and the rise in video-calling services provided by mobile network operators. The telecoms industry is much more concerned about the potential congestion generated by the rise in video-streaming to mobile devices."
"There is plenty of work being done in this area to find technical solutions that will squeeze more and more data through the mobile connection and for compressing the data requirements of data-hungry applications."
It might already be too late for operators as companies like WhatsApp have made the first move towards VoLTE. That leaves operators two options, says Mark: "One route is to focus on the network technology to provide the best connectivity and leave others like WhatsApp to deliver the services - including calls - over that connection. The other route is to compete on services, particularly person-to-person services, and that will require them to re-establish service innovation practices, and technology, that raises them to the level of the newcomers."
It seems like VoLTE is going to take over. Unless new methods of compression can save networks they may be in danger from alternatives like Artemis. The coming years should be very interesting for mobile networks – here's hoping the competitive market means cheaper data for the rest of us.