Three has announced that it customers will be able to make voice calls over its 4G data network with the launch of its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in the autumn.
VoLTE services are touted as providing better call quality and faster connections, and will also mean that if a Three customer has 4G data services but not 3G, they will still be able to make voice calls.
Three said it expects around one million customers to be able to make calls using VoLTE by the end of the year and 7.5 million by 2016.
The move follows on from EE’s introduction of WiFi calling services as mobile operators look to enhance the calling capabilities for their customers. EE is also planning to launch VoLTE services at same point in the future.
Three said it is also putting new spectrum into its network, using two 5MHz bands in the 800MHz band that it acquired during the 2013 4G auctions to enhance its coverage, particularly indoors, and help to reduce the amount of mobile blackspots.
Bryn Jones, Three’s chief technical officer, said adding this spectrum to its network was another effort to improve the service it delivers to customers.
“Our aim is to keep our customers connected wherever they are. Adding low frequency spectrum to our network and enabling voice calls over 4G and Wi-Fi, will mean Three customers can stay connected in more places than ever before," he said.
Recent data from Ofcom on 4G speeds showed that O2 and Three have the slowest connections, with average download speeds of 13.9Mbps and 8.5Mbps respectively. Average speed for uploads for O2 are 13.2Mbps and Three 9.4Mbps.
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