Ericsson, Qualcomm Accomplish World's First Voice Handover Between LTE And WCDMA

Ericsson and Qualcomm said today that they have accomplished the world's first handover between Long-Term Evolution (LTE) and (Wideband Code Division Multiple Access) WCDMA using Ericsson's end-to-end network infrastructure and an LTE/3G multimode smartphone chipset from Qualcomm.

The voice handover based on the 3GPP-standardized functionality Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC) demonstrated that users can experience seamless voice services when they move out of LTE coverage, since the call will automatically be handed over to WCDMA or Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) access during the call.

One particular challenge to operators is to ensure that users do not experience interruptions of ongoing voice calls when they move out of LTE coverage, the companies said.

Up until now, the main use of LTE has been for mobile data traffic, however operators are starting to evolve their networks to support voice and text messaging over LTE (based on VoLTE GSMA IR.92), and prepare for the introduction of new globally interoperable multimedia services on LTE smartphones, according to the companies.

"By accomplishing this advanced LTE handover technology together with Qualcomm, we now ensure that operators can meet consumers' expectations on a high-quality voice over LTE service," Johan Wibergh, head of business unit networks at Ericsson, said in a statement. "Operators will be able to maintain their quality brand for their voice business when they launch voice over LTE."

The handover mechanism is supported on Ericsson's end-to-end products and solutions: LTE/WCDMA/GSM RAN, Evolved Packet Core, MSC and IMS to work towards voice over long term evolution (VoLTE) enabled LTE smart phones.

The first operators are expected to begin deploying SRVCC later this year, followed by more global commercial launches in 2013.

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