MTS, Vimpelcom, MegaFon poised to launch commercial VoLTE

18 Jun 2015

Russian cellco MTS has prepared its LTE network to provide commercial voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services, said company spokesperson Dmitry Solodovnikov, quoted by MTS has tested new cloud-based platforms with vendor partner Ericsson, including VoLTE support, without needing to change software or hardware at each base station, and is ‘satisfied’ with the test results. In test mode, VoLTE is already available in Moscow and St. Petersburg since last year, Solodovnikov noted.

Rival cellco Vimpelcom (Beeline Russia) is also technically ready to launch VoLTE, having begun test-mode services in 2014, while in April 2015 the first VoLTE call over Beeline’s commercial network took place, company representative Anna Aybasheva confirmed. Similarly, MegaFon is also ‘ready’ to provide VoLTE services, having also conducted tests last year, noted spokesperson Alia Beketov.

However, cellcos are awaiting changes to the regulatory framework to support commercial VoLTE services. According to MegaFon’s Beketov, the operator expects new rules to be completed by the communications ministry soon, updating a decade-old framework for interconnection of network services. The ‘legacy’ regulations, in particular, prohibit the completion of calls over ‘data’ (IP) networks to a telephone (voice) network, i.e. technically disallowing a full commercial VoLTE service. The legal framework for VoLTE is ‘ready’ and has passed inter-agency coordination, a representative of the communications ministry, Dmitry Zakharov, was quoted as saying, although he did not offer a timeframe for the approval of regulatory documents.