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Three's launching Voice over LTE support this autumn

Jamie Rigg, @jmerigg
April 22, 2015
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Three's hellbent on continually improving network reliability and coverage, and as part of that, the carrier has today announced it's gearing up to add Voice over LTE (VoLTE) support to its network this autumn. The provider is currently on track to switch its VoLTE service on in September, facilitated by tagging additional 800MHz spectrum onto its existing 1800MHz network. This new slice of bandwidth is expected to significantly improve coverage in problem areas, particularly inside buildings, where 800MHz airwaves can penetrate more easily than other frequencies. Three expects roughly 1 million of its 8.5 million customers to be reaping the benefits of VoLTE by the end of the year, taking calls in places 2G and 3G signals can't reach. The only catch is you're going to need a VoLTE-compatible handset, such as the iPhone 6 or Galaxy S6. Any relatively new handset should do, though.

Three isn't the only carrier readying VoLTE support, of course. EE and Vodafone are set to go live over the summer, which would make Three a little late to the party (O2 has misplaced its invite, it would seem). Three also touched on WiFi calling during today's announcement, which it currently offers through its inTouch smartphone app. The plan is, in the not-too-distant future, to take the app out of the equation and make the feature native and seamless in exactly the same way EE has done it, and Vodafone intends to. WiFi calls handled in this way can jump over to VoLTE networks and vice-versa, meaning your conversation won't end abruptly when moving from hot-spot to not-spot (or rather, former not-spot).

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