4G Call Drops Can Be Much Higher Than 2G/3G

by CXOtoday News Desk    Feb 11, 2016


While most users are looking to upgrade to 4G for better speed and lesser call drops, a new study highlights a stark reality that call drops may be even worse in the case of 4G and therefore advise users to exercise caution. According to Amdocs Network Research, 4G voice over LTE (VoLTE) call drops are up to five times higher than traditional voice calls on 2G or 3G networks.

The study needs some attention at a time when 4G is already in vogue. A recent Deloitte study predicts that more than a third of respondents who don’t subscribe to 4G are likely to do so in the next 12 months.  “In the coming years, the quality of network for Internet will be more important than the quality of network for voice calls,” the study said.

 “This will enable operators to contend with the annual doubling of demand for data, increased network complexity, the increased demand for video viewing on smartphones and tablets, and the initial instability of new services being introduced such as voice over LTE (VoLTE),” said the report, which is based on analysis of more than 25 million voice and data connections from 80 different network operators around the world in the past 12 months.

While VoLTE is an important and strategic service for operators as it offers operating expense (OPEX) and capital expense (CAPEX) reductions through the promise of repurposing 2G and 3G services, the study suggests the quality of VoLTE provides initially, post-deployment, can be less stable than the traditional voice service it replaces, requiring aggressive tuning by the operator.

In times of network congestion, indoor users face up to a 25% increase in network issues compared to outdoors users. Taking this into account, operators could effectively target network optimization efforts at these problem areas to deliver a consistent, quality of network experience, according to the report.

The research further suggests that the volume of mobile data usage is growing across the world at approximately 60 percent year-on-year, particularly with increased demand for video on devices providing better entertainment opportunities to mobile users. However, with only 5 to 15 percent of Wi-Fi traffic going through mobile devices that is able to be accurately described as Wi-Fi offload, the study highlights that service providers need to offload more traffic from cellular networks to Wi-Fi networks, in order to realize greater cost and operational efficiencies.

The Amdocs research highlights the need for operators to consider optimizing their radio access networks (RAN). Ann Hatchell, head of network marketing at Amdocs. “In The New World of Customer Experience, service providers need to deliver a first-class network experience when and where it matters most.”  

She suggested, by leveraging RAN software, service providers can gain operational efficiencies and improved service agility with a centralized vendor-neutral approach.  “This allows them to optimize quality of experience, even under times of network congestion, and build better relationships with high value customers,” she said.