EE to use 3G networks to carry voice calls


The operator has followed US companies’ lead in deciding to delay adding 4G voice calls to its offering, meaning its customers’ will still to some extent rely on 3G networks

EE customers who pay for 4G will still be heavily reliant on 3G technology – to make normal voice calls.

The company has not yet added VoLTE (voice over LTE) to its network. This means that when 4GEE customers make calls, they will be carried over Orange and T-Mobile’s 3G network.

Switching between networks depletes phone battery power, which means that 4GEE customers may need to charge their phone more often than those whose voice and data runs on the same network, depending on how often they access the internet on their handsets.

EE chief sales officer Marc Allera told Mobile News: “I can tell you we are not carrying voice over 4G to start with, it’s data only.”

The company plans to offer VoLTE in the near future.

“We are not talking about time scales on that yet. At the moment we are focusing on delivering this brand launch and getting as many people as possible using data over 4G.

“Then we will look at the voice aspects when we are ready,” Allera said.

EE’s decision not to offer VoLTE at launch is in-keeping with US companies’, who are also staggering 4G mobile internet and voice call upgrades.

It is unlikely the UK’s major operators will commercialise the technology until mid- or end of 2013.