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VoLTE solves the complex problem of providing voice services over a 4G mobile data network. Although it may allow 2G and 3G networks to be turned off, and their spectrum re-farmed to other networks, declining call revenues (and in some cases declining volumes) are dampening appetite to invest in VoLTE. However, with voice beyond telephony on the rise, for example through AI-powered voice assistants and video calling, can telcos use VoLTE as an opportunity to develop new IP-based voice and messaging communications offerings?
The rapid growth of Facebook, WhatsApp, WeChat and other Internet-based services has prompted some commentators to write off telcos in the consumer communications market. But many mobile operators retain surprisingly large voice and messaging businesses and still have several strategic options. Indeed, there is much telcos can learn from the leading Internet players’ evolving communications propositions and their attempts to integrate them into broad commerce and content platforms. In this report we examine what opportunities still exist for telcos in this strategically important sector.
5G deployments will need new allocations of radio spectrum, particularly to achieve promised speeds, and target new IoT use-cases. However, the official process for releasing new frequencies is slow and cumbersome. Some countries may short-circuit the process. At the same time, the rationale for new sharing mechanisms, that allow industrial and vertical players to acquire spectrum for their own networks, outside of MNO control, is growing. What should telcos do?