Alongside Wi-Fi calling, VoLTE (Voice-over-LTE), is one of the latest features popping up with major mobile networks.

It promises faster, clearer voice calls plus video calling without the need for extra apps or services.

So What is VoLTE Exactly?

In essence, Voice-over-LTE is exactly what is sounds like.

Instead of falling back to an older network to transmit voice data...

...the data for your call is routed over the LTE data network just like anything else on your mobile that uses data.

VoLTE is a feature that uses LTE, not a separate mobile networking technology.

NOTE: Networks refer to VoLTE by different names, including HD Voice, True Voice and HD Calling.

What’s the Big Deal Then?

With standard voice calls, every time that you make or receive a call, your mobile must switch to the 2G/3G network in your area. VoLTE changes this.

Four major benefits of VoLTE include:

VoLTE calls are clearer
Calls connect faster
Improved battery life
You can still use 4G data while placing a VoLTE call

Since everything is handled using 4G, your mobile doesn’t waste battery switching networks.

You can still browse the web or use apps at full speed while you’re talking and the increased bandwidth of the 4G network means better call quality.

Want to see the benefits in action?

Check out the below video from Ask Pogue.

It shows the obvious difference in voice quality around the 2 minute mark.

Pretty impressive hey?

We agree.

Overall, it’s a win-win if you have decent LTE coverage in your area.

OK, So What Do I Need to Use VoLTE?

You’ll need:

A network that offers VoLTE service.
A mobile that can use the feature.

Current UK Networks that support VoLTE include:

Mobile support is a bit trickier.

This will depend on:

- the software running on the mobile
- the type of hardware / chip powering the mobile
- any modifications made by the network or manufacturer

On the software side, a mobile must run at least Android 5.0 Lollipop or iOS 8.

From there, it’s a matter of hardware.

Most newer mobiles using a Snapdragon or MediaTek processor support the feature.

Unsure if your mobile is compatible?

We list VoLTE support as a spec for each mobile here on The Informr.

Find your mobile. Hit the "Specs" tab and look for the Voice over LTE section.

Phone Page VoLTE Listing Screenshot

Wikipedia's also has a list of VoLTE-capable mobiles.

Lastly...

...even if the mobile supports VoLTE, it’s a good idea to contact your network to be sure that they support VoLTE with the mobile you plan to use.

As the feature is still relatively new, some networks still limit VoLTE to specific devices, plans or regions.

NOTE: Depending on your network, you might find that VoLTE calling is restricted only to callers on the same network. Also, if the person you’re calling doesn’t have a mobile that supports VoLTE, you won’t see the sound quality improvements. While most networks offer ways to seamlessly switch calls between VoLTE and 3G, you might have minor issues with dropped calls when travelling between coverage areas.

How Do I Activate VoLTE?

In most cases, if your mobile and network support VoLTE, you’ll be able to use it without making any changes to your mobile or account settings.

If you’ve swapped the same SIM between mobiles for the past few years, you might need a new SIM.

Contact your network or stop by one of their stores.

Most will set you up with a new SIM that supports the feature...

...usually at no additional charge.

Does VoLTE Use My Data or Minutes?

If you’ve ever used a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) app, such as Skype or Viber, over your mobile data connection, you’ve likely noticed that calls came out of your monthly data allotment.

While VoLTE calls technically use data in a similar way, most networks won't bill you for the data used on voice calls. Instead, your VoLTE calls will come out of your minute allotment just like a normal call. 

Most networks?

Yes. It's possible not all. Especially if you're using advanced features such as video calling.

We recommend contacting your network to verify and avoid any nasty surprises on your bill.

Anything Else I Should Know?

Not really.

While the feature is new, it shouldn't impact billing or change how you use your mobile.

You might deal with a few more dropped calls if you travel through multiple coverage areas, but most networks offer seamless switching these days.

For the most part, with VoLTE, it's benefits with no downsides.

What's not to like?


Tried VoLTE? Let us know in the comments below or ask a question in the forum.