Three have become the first network in the UK to switch on an exciting new service known as VoLTE, allowing voice calls over the 4G network for better quality and signal strength.
Using the 800Mhz spectrum purchased in the 4G auction which has now been rolled out, Three are hoping this lower frequency will help fix the pesky indoor signal issue that customers can face on any network.
Going under the name ‘4G Super Voice’ customers will have to be in an enabled area with a compatible phone to make the most of the new technology, but new devices are being added to the list all the time.
At launch the Samsung Galaxy S5 will be supported, and we believe that the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus will also get access shortly as well as many more after the initial launch.
We have asked for a full list of devices that are enabled for the VoLTE service and will update this post with the news once we have it.
If you’d like to know more about VoLTE, read our earlier feature on the technology.
Three UK tackles indoor blackspots with latest network enhancement
- One million customers to benefit from increased indoor and rural coverage by end of year
- Up to 5.5 million customers with access to 4G Super Voice by 2017
- Three UK first UK operator to launch VoLTE – (4G Super-Voice)
In the latest enhancement to its network, Three is introducing a new technology, named 4G Super-Voice.
Based on a roll-out of low frequency 800 MHz* spectrum it allows a mobile signal to travel much further into buildings and extends its reach to more rural areas, removing many of the current coverage ‘blackspots’ across the country.
Customers will be able to make calls, send texts and get online in places that previously had poor or no signal.
4G Super-Voice is made possible by the addition of the low frequency spectrum to the Three network, that will enable its 4G network to carry voice calls using VoLTE technology as well as texts and data. Three is the first UK operator to launch VoLTE technology.
The combination of both lower and the higher frequency spectrum (1800MHz) which Three currently uses means customers will benefit from the advantages of each, meaning improved indoor coverage, less blackspots and better call connections.
The enhancement is the latest initiative in our drive to improve indoor coverage which includes adding new sites to the network and launching our WiFi calling application, Three InTouch, last year.
4G Super-Voice already covers 50% of the UK population for indoor coverage and more than three quarters of London, Edinburgh, Exeter and Birmingham. This is combined with our 3G network which already offers 98% outdoor UK population coverage.
Three has also begun rolling out the technology in many other towns and cities across the country including Cardiff, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol.
By the end of the year it will extend to 65% nationwide, meaning millions of our customers will soon benefit from improved coverage indoors, in rural areas, and on public transport.
By 2017, we expect up to 5.5 million Three customers could have access to 4G Super Voice, subject to device compatibility and take up.
Director of customer strategy, Danny Dixon, said:
“Not being able to use your phone as and when you want, no matter where you are, is one of the biggest pain points for customers. Today’s announcement is the latest step in our efforts to offer customers a quality experience on what is already the UK’s most reliable network**.”
Bryn Jones, chief technology officer at Three, added:
“By the end of the year, one million of our customers will have access to better indoor coverage and be able to use their phones in more places than ever before. We are proud to be the first network to roll this out across the country.”
Customers require a compatible handset to access the new technology which will be available on the Samsung Galaxy S5 at launch. New devices will be added regularly including recent iPhone models later this year. ***
The customer simply needs to update the software on their compatible device to the latest version to access 4G Super-Voice completely free of charge. When the update is ready for a customer’s handset an alert will be sent, notifying them to update their operating system, by following the on-screen instructions.
* Three acquired 2×5 MHz lots of 800MHz spectrum at the 2013 spectrum auction. The new lower spectrum has shorter wavelengths that will allow Three’s 4G network to travel further inside buildings. Due to their greater density customers will benefit from enhanced indoor coverage.
** We have been rated as the UK’s most reliable network by YouGov for each of the past four quarters.
*** More than one million Three customers are expected to have a VoLTE-enabled handset by the end of 2015. A list of VoLTE-enabled devices and roadmap is available here.