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Smart launches VoLTE in Metro Manila

More customers of PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) will soon be able to enjoy a richer call experience using Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) calls as Smart rolls out the service commercially.

VoLTE is the first, fully IP based carrier grade voice service and uses LTE/4G to transmit voice calls, unlike the current practice where calls go through 2G or 3G mobile networks.

After activating VoLTE across its LTE sites in Metro Manila, Smart is making the latest technology in voice calls initially available to selected Smart subscribers. The service will soon be available to Smart Signature plan holders as well.

VoLTE’s main benefit is the high-definition voice call quality. Calls made over VoLTE are superior in quality compared to calls made over 3G and 2G, and VoLTE-to-VoLTE calls are crystal-clear, with almost no background noise.

VoLTE also enables faster call setup, which means the amount of time it takes for a mobile phone to connect to another for a voice call is also drastically reduced.

All these benefits will be available when calling other VoLTE users, or Voice over Wifi (VoWifi) users

As they no longer have to shift to 3G or 2G networks, VoLTE users also stay online on the fastest 4G/LTE network with their data applications even when making or receiving a call. This means that a user can simultaneously be in a voice call, while actively using high-speed data for other applications.

To enjoy VoLTE’s richer call experience, customers need VoLTE-capable devices, such as Samsung Galaxy S8 and higher, Huawei Mate 20 and P20. VoLTE support will be available to more handsets soon. Using these handsets, customers can make VoLTE calls using their phone’s native dialer, and will not require a separate, over-the-top (OTT) application.

Compared to OTT apps, VoLTE delivers better voice quality, and also guarantees that the receiver of the call is reached, unlike OTTs that require both caller and receiver to be online and on the same app.

“PLDT-Smart is always at the innovation forefront to bring the latest technologies available to our subscribers for the best customer experience,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.

“We don’t just provide voice communication, we want to provide an enriching voice call experience when our subscribers talk with their family, friends, and when making business calls,” Tamayo added. “Through services such as VoLTE, we are also able to maximize our available network resources, particularly for LTE.”

Wifi Calling

Last year, Smart also activated VoWifi services or Wifi Calling, which lets customers make and receive calls and text messages over a Wifi connection using their smartphone’s native dialer, without having to install a third-party app.

Apart from improved calling and messaging experience, Wifi Calling also offers extended network coverage, as customers can make and receive voice calls, as well as video calls, wherever there is Wifi connection.

“These pioneering initiatives are key parts of PLDT-Smart’s integrated efforts to continuously improve and evolve our voice services,” said Tamayo. “We will continue to strengthen and revolutionize our network so that we can deliver relevant services such as Wifi Calling and VoLTE, as well as voice/video over 5G in the near future.”

These services are enabled by parent company PLDT’s extensive fiber network which now spans more than 260,000 kilometers. This fiber infrastructure also supports Smart’s wireless network by providing high-capacity links to cellular base stations.

PLDT has committed historic levels of resources for network transformation. This year, capital expenditures are at P78.4 billion.

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