We have multiple means of communication at our disposal, yet picking up the phone remains a favourable choice for businesses and customers alike. Using your mobile for voice is natural.
You’ve probably spotted that the evolution of calling technology, such as unified communications and 5G, has generated a wave of mobile and voice jargon.
With 53.5 million smartphone users in the UK alone (that’s 78.9% of the population), it’s important to keep up to date with the industry.
But before we get into mobile voice, you might want to check out our 5G jargon buster for a quick refresher on terms such as latency, frequency and capacity.
Now, let’s break down the terminology and dial into the meaning behind mobile voice technology.
3G and Mobile Voice
1G introduced the mobile and 2G upped the game with digital calling, but it couldn’t quite keep up with the millions of consumers wanting in on the mobile action.
3G is where the mobile industry really came to life. A turning point for voice, users simply popped in their SIM to make calls using a ‘true’ internet connection. It offered improved coverage due to its faster download speeds and four times faster data transfer capabilities.
Access to more dependable Wi-Fi has given customers extended reach as 3G can bypass cellular coverage. It also uses bandwidth more efficiently so more calls can be packed together. This bandwidth enables calling whether you’re nipping out on your lunch break, travelling by train, or even roaming abroad.
3G uses a combination of the 2G network and new technologies and protocols to deliver a faster data rate and improved voice quality. It opened the gateway to video conferencing, later giving us some of the first commercially used Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) applications, such as Skype.
LTE and 4G LTE
In 2008, Long Term Evolution (LTE) was created as a new mobile communication standard and a pathway towards a faster 4G service. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU-R) set a minimum speed requirement for a connection to be classed as ‘4G’. Unfortunately, these speeds weren’t yet reachable.
Connections became labelled ‘4G LTE’. This meant the device’s connection didn’t meet the ‘true 4G’ standard but was significantly faster than 3G, with higher spectral efficiency and data rates.
What does this mean for voice? LTE’s lower latency improves voice functionality, performance, and quality over the older networks. 4G LTE has become a lifesaver for businesses because it gives mobile users a much-needed boost in more locations.
Voice over LTE service is usually available over lower frequencies than 5G, which means it delivers deeper and broader coverage than the higher frequency bands. This ensures that users receive even greater access to this high-quality voice service.
Once the full 5G infrastructure is built out, LTE will be a fallback for voice connectivity in areas that experience limited 5G coverage. Your teams will rely upon this coverage to ensure they can make calls without interruption or loss of service – greatly improving their productivity and efficiency.
Our business-only mobile service VirtualFirstMobile, for example, is powered by Three with 4G and 5G capabilities. Users can even make calls while roaming in over 200 destinations – with no additional roaming charges at least until the end of 2022.
Voice over LTE (VoLTE)
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) facilitates voice calls over a 4G LTE network. Its low latency enables the transmission of voice and video telephony through the internet while also supporting the use of applications – great for those businesses requiring more capacity.
Data and calls can work simultaneously and far more data can be transmitted on a 4G connection. This means that not only will you enjoy twice as fast call connections and higher voice quality – with call clarity that allows tone of voice recognition – but you can also check your emails for a project update while in a Microsoft Teams video meeting.
Businesses using the Three network are realising the benefits, with VoLTE calls jumping from 37% in 2019 to 80% in 2021. Subscriptions to VoLTE services are also expected to reach 6.4 billion by the end of 2025.
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and network frequencies
So, what happens when your chosen workspace is a trendy coffee shop in the middle of a shopping centre? Or in the centre of a multi-storey office block, surrounded by other meeting rooms?
Different network generations operate on different frequencies, like radio stations. All these frequencies are signals trying to reach your mobile.
As we’ve mentioned before, 4G and VoLTE are powered on lower frequencies, which are also better at penetrating walls. This allows your device to pick up a strong signal even if you are based in Fort Knox. 3G works on a higher frequency and isn’t as good at penetrating walls, leading to weaker signal strength.
The good news is, if even 5G can’t reach you, calls can fall back on trusty 4G VoLTE. 4G VoLTE and 5G complement each other perfectly to offer elevated calling capabilities. With Gamma Mobile’s enhanced voice services, for example, you can benefit from 99% outdoor and 98% indoor coverage.
If you’re rendered unable to make calls traditionally from your underground bunker, you could always try your Wi-Fi instead. This leads us nicely on to…
Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi)
With a Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) capable device, you don’t have to rely on a wavering signal. You can make calls while connected to home broadband or another wireless internet connection.
VoWiFi and VoLTE are a match made in business-calling heaven. If your Wi-Fi disconnects, VoLTE kicks into action in its place. It also allows a user to make a call to another person, regardless of whether the recipient supports Wi-Fi calling or not.
VoLTE and VoWiFi have become essential tools for remote workers. A study by YouGov found that 61% of Brits working from home agreed that switching to mobile broadband has improved their working experience.
36% of participants admitted to regularly switching to mobile data to stay online, as more people being at home created issues sharing broadband. The two services worked in tandem, kicking in to pick up the slack when needed.
Employees are relying more and more on their mobiles to stay connected to their work. Despite the growth of video conferencing applications during countless lockdowns, voice calls remained a firm favourite. In fact, over a quarter of home workers rely on switching to their mobile phones to make calls.
The beauty of VoWiFi is that it comes at no extra cost, and you can connect to private or public Wi-Fi without the need for additional applications. Even more reason to offer your workforce an unparalleled business mobile service!
Enhanced Voice Services (EVS) is a speech audio coding standard built for VoLTE. It promotes superior mobile voice service, offering greater speech quality on calls.
This technology was developed to delay call jitter and transmission errors, so calls should connect automatically. Great news for those looking to close a deal or update a customer while working on the road.
High-Definition Voice (HD Voice) aims to reduce background noise and create clearer audio connections.
This 4G LTE-backed technology delivers better VoIP calls on a fast internet connection. It’s been around for some time, used in applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Zoom.
Nowadays it’s prevalent in business applications as remote workers rely heavily on devices that support mobile working. HD Voice is critical in video calling applications such as Microsoft Teams, but before adoption, a business must ensure it has a strong enough internet connection and software that supports the technology.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of devices that can connect with one another and share data via the internet.
Smartphones play a big role within the IoT metaverse as they allow people to share information from pretty much anywhere at any time, and it’s not just from mobile to mobile. It could be between laptops, smart speakers or even cars.
Voice activation has been a key driver for the development of the IoT. Operators can monetise VoLTE through the IoT, as VoLTE is incorporated into voice-enabled devices that aid businesses.
To improve performance, a vending machine could be fitted with a ‘press here to call’ button that allows customers to log faults or even ask a general query.
What’s next for voice? The Shared Rural Network (SRN) project has been set up to support remote workers, with connectivity being improved on an additional sixteen thousand kilometres of UK roads and almost three hundred thousand additional premises.
In the meantime, Three UK has invested billions into its 5G rollout while upgrading 4G services to offer better indoor coverage. It’s hard to believe so much revolutionary technology can fit inside one smartphone.
Hybrid working has fast become the standard, with your employees and your customers reliant on a stable mobile connection. There has never been a better time to assess your mobile strategy.
Call our team to hear all the benefits of mobile voice? It’s time to get your business heard.