Global subscribers currently stand at 488 million
Voice over LTE (VoLTE) subscribers will rise from 488 million to three billion by 2021.
This is according to a report from Juniper Research, as operators will reap the benefits of widespread 4G rollouts. 165 operators in 73 countries have invested in VoLTE technologies in 2017, with 102 operators having launched the service commercially.
The report claims VoLTE services will overtake over-the-top (OTT) messaging services such as WhatsApp and WeChat for the first time by 2021. Mobile data usage from VoLTE will rise seven-fold from 2,000 Petabytes in 2016.
Juniper researchers found operators will introduce national and international VoLTE roaming as usage will rise to 10 trillion minutes by 2021. It is predicted operators will partner with platform vendors to launch this service.
Platform providers such as Syniverse and Tata Communications will play a critical role in the future of VoLTE roaming, according to the report. Providers will offer operators the necessary infrastructure and immediate potential partner base to maximise global reach.
Networks who fail to undergo change for VoLTE risk an increase in churn and ultimately losing ground to rivals, said the report.
Juniper Research noted research author Sam Barker said: “Operators have historically used service coverage as a differentiation point; selling the notion of ‘always available’.
“The depth and breadth of high-quality voice services will now serve to enrich that offering and entice users: ‘always available, always best-in-class’.”