South Korea’s largest mobile network operator by subscribers, SK Telecom (SKT), has announced the commercial launch of its voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) service. Offered under the ‘HD Voice’ banner, the cellco has extolled the benefits of the new service, highlighting the increased sound quality it offers, while also boasting of speedier connection times; call connections reportedly take less than 0.25 seconds to 2.5 seconds, which it claims is up to 20 times faster than 3G voice calls, which take on average five seconds to connect. SKT meanwhile has confirmed that call costs for the new 4G voice calling option will mirror those of its 3G equivalent, at KRW1.8 (USD0.001) per second on a pay-as-you-go basis. In order to access the service, the operator has noted that both customers will need to be signed up to its LTE service and have an HD Voice-compatible device. With that in mind, SKT has confirmed it plans to sell the Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE handset embedded with the HD Voice feature from today, while it aims to offer firmware upgrades for those that already have the handset to enable the VoLTE option. Looking ahead, HD Voice is expected to be added as a basic feature to the majority of the smartphones that SKT intends to release in the future.
Commenting on the development, Bae Joon-dong, SKT’s president of Network Operation Business, noted: ‘With the commercialisation of HD Voice, SK Telecom firmly establishes itself as the top LTE service provider in terms of market share, network infrastructure and technology. Going forward, SK Telecom will continue to provide customers with innovative, lifestyle-enhancing LTE services including those that utilise HD Voice.’