As 2014 comes to a close, it’s time to take a look into what the new year may hold. One trend that will likely earn a much larger foothold in the telecom industry during 2015 is voice-over-LTE. According to Network World contributor Larry Hettick, a majority of cloud providers experienced double-digit growth in their IP telephony and unified communications portfolios this year. This growth is expected to continue as an increasing number of providers offer the ability to connect to 4G LTE networks.

In a recently release report, industry market research firm Visiongain said it expected there to be more than 101 million active VoLTE subscribers around the world by the end of 2015.

Major carriers like AT&T and Verizon are working on plans for more widespread adoption of VoLTE in 2015 in the hopes of retiring their 3G voice networks. The employing of LTE service for Internet-based calling provides users with high-definition voice and enhanced interoperability with collaborative media like video and conferencing.

VoLTE improves call quality, efficiency 
According to PC Magazine contributor Sascha Segan, VoLTE service bumps up the quality of an incoming call from an 8kbps codec to a 13kbps codec that uses more modern compression methods. The new service offers operators the ability to optimize their spectrum efficiency, utilize their IMS infrastructure to the fullest extent and add value to their existing voice plans. Industry analysts have suggested that using LTE networks for voice services could help carriers achieve 40 percent more spectral efficiency compared to legacy systems.

Both Verizon and AT&T are hoping to replace their legacy switch networks for ones that are entirely IP-based in the coming years. AT&T is looking to retire its traditional infrastructures by 2020, giving a long timeline for carriers to make the switch before being left out in the cold.

Verizon and AT&T are also partnering to offer users interoperability between the two carriers, so any call between the two will remain on VoLTE the entire time.

“Interoperability of VoLTE between wireless carriers is crucial to a positive client experience,” said Krish Prabhu, president of AT&T Labs and chief technology officer at AT&T. “Clients expect to be able to connect anywhere, anytime – and as LTE technology continues to evolve, it’s imperative that we provide a seamless experience between carriers.”

As 2015 comes around the corner, VoLTE service will become more prominent in the industry as users discover the benefits it has to offer.