Fourth generation (4G) voice and data services are set to be enhanced through Robi’s adoption of Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) this week, ushering the end of 3G networks within a couple of years.
The VoLTE is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals, including internet of things devices and wearables.
The second largest mobile carrier with about five crore active users says it would lower call drops and call establishment times, extend smartphone battery life, increase internet speed and reduce pressure on its network.
Experts said call quality would be far superior as there would be threefold the data transfer compared to that over 3G and six times to that over 2G, making it even more easier to make out the voice and tone.
Only 4G-enabled handsets can access the service. Availing 4G services already required changing into a new SIM.
Currently about 11 percent of Robi users have the VoLTE supportive smart devices, said a top executive of the carrier, adding that there would not be any discrimination on services, be it their mobile prefix 018 or 016.
There will also be no additional data charges, said Robi officials.
Robi ran a non-commercial trial of the technology for the first time in Bangladesh in January last year demonstrating “high definition” voice calls at a faster setup time.
Singapore pioneered the technology’s commercial introduction in May 2014.
Neighbouring India adopted the technology a few years back and all of their operators have started shutting down their 3G networks. While only Reliance Jio operates a pure 4G-VoLTE network, Airtel has declared plans to boost 4G networks by March this year.
Robi executives said if all customers ride on VoLTE service, it will help to gradually shut down 3G networks within three to four years and reduce service costs and subsequently prices they offer.
Robi’s adoption will be officially made through a ceremony at InterContinental Dhaka on Wednesday where a couple of ministers are scheduled to be present.
Shahed Alam, chief corporate and regulatory officer, said they were very excited to be the country’s first operator to adopt the VoLTE.
“Launching of this innovative voice calling service over our 4G network will certainly herald a new era in the country’s journey towards the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ vision,” he said.
“We are confident that our customers are going to enjoy a new experience in their lives with the touch of HD quality voice service,” he said.