What Next For VoLGA?

in Blog, CSFB, Deutsche Telekom, Kineto Wireless, LTE, VoLGA

Operators are getting ready for LTE deployments in second half of 2010. However data only deployment is initially expected, followed by voice later. So how does operators are planning to launch voice services - 3GPP CSFB or IMS based or VoLGA ?

Last year there were discussions all around about inability of 3GPP LTE to handle voice from day 1. Kineto Wireless came forward with VoLGA. The VoLGA (Voice over LTE via Generic Access) Forum was initiated last year to promote an approach for extending traditional GSM and UMTS circuit-switched services over LTE access networks. It was an evolution from UMA/GAN but for LTE. 

VoLGA claimed to solve voice problem, as operators around the world would adopt IMS voice on different timelines.

3GPP backers came back strongly and major mobile and converged operators such as AT&T, Verizon, France and Telecom/Orange along with powerful wireless equipment vendors such as Ericsson and Nokia-Siemens announced (November 2009) their plan to follow the IMS-based approach for delivery of voice and messaging services over Long Term Evolution (LTE) broadband mobile radio access. 

See 3GPP slide about voice fallback (Download Core Network migration path for HSPA+ and LTE for more)

With 3GPP in full force promoting its CS fallback solution, VoLGA has been on back foot from quite some time. 

Deutsche Telekom, one of major backers of VoLGA, is all set to start LTE trial later this year. Will Deutsche Telekom launch VoLGA as well along with its planned Trial of LTE in 800MHz Spectrum ? In case Deutsche Telekom decides in favor of VoLGA then operators who have not yet decided their choice may consider VoLGA as voice fallback option as well.

Earlier in February this year, Kineto Wireless claimed that the testing, conducted with Deutsche Telekom’s next generation mobile test network using LTE technology and a VoLGA solution from Kineto Wireless, delivers call-setup times up to 65 percent faster than alternative LTE voice technologies, such as CS Fallback. “We were confident that VoLGA would deliver a superior user experience, and now we have the test results to prove it,” said Franz Seiser, head of core network technology at Deutsche Telekom.

VoLGA's fate appears to be tied with Deutsche Telekom as of now. 

The VoLGA forum is comprised of leaders in the wireless industry, including Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Alcatel Lucent, HTC, Huawei, LG, Motorola, Research in Motion, Samsung, Starent/Cisco, ZTE and Kineto Wireless.

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Comment on CSFB and the 'cost' of VoLGA

I started to write up a full response here, but it got too long.

My thoughts on the post, and the completely uninformed comment regarding the cost of VoLGA, are here:


VoLGA was the only voice over LTEi solution demonstrated at MWC 2010. It's available today. Frankly the more the industry learns about CSFBi, the more interest there is in VoLGA.


Steve, above slide was part

Steve, above slide was part of technical presentation by Hannu Hietalahti, 3GPPi CT Chairman, Nokia at a 3GPP Seminar, Moscow, 24/5/2010, I should have added that.

Read your response about it, I agree about the cost thing, If any one have read VoLGA specs then would know that it is really a simple and painless solution. I think I did not took CSFBi side here :-)

I always thought that with UMA we can seamlessly migrate to LTEi untill VoLGA was proposed, assuming UEi has capability to choose CS plane for UMA and LTE for PS. Similar to WiFi a UE can use LTE as access point.

Needless to say that similar to UMA, VoLGA is also not getting its due.

VoLGA is too costly to serve as a makeshift arrangement.:

There isn't any question about IMS Voice being the ultimate mode of voice delivery in LTEi networks. Hence, all such arrangements like CSFBi, VoLGA or VoIP based voice are essentially the makeshift arrangements until that (IMS based voice) happens. Now, VoLGA being most expensive of these makeshift options doesn't look like a great choice for operators (unless of course someone has a lot to spare).
And that fact is corroborated by the forum's promoter list where no operator except Deutsche exists and recently OEMs like Ericsson pulled themselves out of it.