More and more mobile providers are now turning to Voice over LTE (VoLTE), Video over LTE (ViLTE) and Rich Communication Suite (RCS) services to deliver on their business goals.
What are your options for implementing these complex standards in your chipsets and devices? And how can you ensure you get your devices certified by mobile providers as quickly and painlessly as possible?
The drivers: better services and lower costs
VoLTE appeals to mobile operators because with it they can make more efficient use of their network assets – and reduce their costs. They can also offer their customers an improved experience of making voice calls with, for example, shorter call setup times.
And with ViLTE, they can offer an LTE-based video-calling service.
But they are also hungry to spice up their familiar voice, SMS and data portfolios with a wider, more enticing range of supplementary services.
They are kept awake at night by fear of being permanently displaced as service providers by over-the-top (OTT) companies such as WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype and KakaoTalk (among others) that have built up intimidating positions delivering an appealing supplementary service menu.
RCS offers mobile providers a solution.
It enables them to offer their customers the new services they want – for example instant messaging, group chat, location sharing and file transfer.
And it allows these services to run natively on the device – i.e. without requiring their customers to download an app and sign-up in order for a service to work.
By removing this small, but significant piece of friction – and by benefiting from the power of the default – mobile operators hope that they can reposition themselves to their customers as valued providers of an enticing selection of integrated communications services.
Launching VoLTE and RCS
VoLTE and RCS services are now being launched around the world.
By mid-2015, some 361 operators had rolled out LTE networks, and 28 of these had also launched VoLTE services.
Many more LTE network and VoLTE service launches are coming.
And RCS is not far behind.
44 operators have launched RCS services on their networks, with a further 87 expected to have done so during 2015.
As a vendor, however, if you’re looking to enable your mobile provider customers to offer these services, there are a number of implementation challenges that you must overcome.
Firstly, VoLTE, ViLTE and RCS are, unfortunately, notoriously complex standards to implement within devices. A wide range of protocols and codecs are required and these are defined across literally hundreds of RFCs, Technical Specifications and Technical Requirements documents.
Secondly, you have to ensure that your devices meet any additional requirements imposed by any mobile provider that you wish to market your device.
Thirdly, you need to include a media engine that will ensure audio and video quality even as bandwidth levels fluctuate so that bandwidth-intensive services such as video-calling work well in real-world conditions.
Finally, the standards themselves are moving targets and you have stay on top of new iterations while ensuring that your devices retain backwards compatibility.
All of these together line up into an imposing set of implementation hurdles.
There are several different options available to you to implement these standards within your devices.
Each has a different set of implications in terms of time to market, flexibility and cost.
Our white paper ‘VoLTE, ViLTE and RCS on Mobile Devices: Overcoming Implementation Challenges’ sets out the implications of these different options so that you can make an informed decision as to which is right for your company.