The number of VoLTE (Voice over LTE) subscribers will increase from 488 million in 2016 to 3 billion in 2021, according to Juniper Research.
165 operators in 73 countries are investing in VoLTE, including 102 operators that have commercially launched an HD voice service using VoLTE in 54 countries.
The number of users adopting VoLTE services will overtake subscribers of OTT (Over-the-Top) voice app services such as Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat, for the first time by 2021.
The mobile data traffic attributable to VoLTE will rise significantly over the next 4 years, representing a seven-fold rise from 2,000 Petabytes in 2016.
Operators will introduce national and international VoLTE roaming, as VoLTE usage rises to over 10 trillion minutes by 2021, equivalent to around 3.3 trillion music tracks.
Telecom operators will be eager to enter partnerships to maintain their quality of service, rather than downgrade calls to circuit-switched telephony, while roaming.
Platform providers, such as Syniverse and Tata Communications, will play a critical role in the future of VoLTE roaming launches, providing operators with the necessary infrastructure and immediate potential partner base to maximize their global reach.
Mobile operators who fail to undergo a shift in attitudes to VoLTE risk losing ground to competitors, and increasing user churn.
“Operators have historically used service coverage as a differentiation point; selling the notion of always available,” said research author Sam Barker.