Vodafone is celebrating another key milestone with the rollout of a 4G Calling service across wider Auckland and RBI2 sites. Completed at the end of September, this enhanced 4G Calling will offer Vodafone customers with crisper, clearer voice calls over 4G as well as faster call setup when placing calls.
This follows Vodafone switching on New Zealand’s first Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) sites in June across Auckland’s North Shore as the first step of the rollout.
Key benefits of the VoLTE 4G upgrade, otherwise known as ‘4G Calling’, includes reduced background noise on voice calls and quicker call connection.
The wider Auckland upgrade has just been completed, and 4G Calling in Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown will be rolled out by December. RBI2 sites also support 4G Calling as these sites are switched on. The rest of the country network for 4G Calling is on track to be completed by the end of March 2020.
Sharina Nisha, Head of Platforms, Vodafone New Zealand, said: "This network upgrade will mean Vodafone customers experience improved voice calls over our already high-performing 4G network. VoLTE-enabled devices will stay on 4G rather than drop to 3G or 2G to make calls. And to ensure call continuity when moving, our 4G Calling service can seamlessly transition to 3G if required, which means Vodafone customers can expect an enhanced voice call experience overall.
“Another benefit of 4G Calling is it can reduce disruption if you were streaming video or downloading content when a call comes in, where 4G data speeds will be maintained. Also with 4G Calling, 5G data speeds will be maintained when we launch 5G in December.
“We've focused our rollout geographically to ensure a speedy rollout – and we expect to have completed these 4G Calling upgrades for customers across New Zealand by the end of March next year.”
The crisper, clearer 4G Calling is available to Vodafone customers on a wide range of devices across Auckland today (when using the latest software version). This includes newer Samsung models as well as the iPhone 6 and above.
As Sharina explains: “A key focus of our 4G Calling introduction has been on the end-to-end testing in conjunction with the phone manufacturers. Our technology experts have been working hard to enable enhanced voice calls for as many Kiwis as possible, and 4G Calling will be available on newer devices.
“Interestingly, we have more iPhone 6’s on our network than any other phone model, so this means many thousands of our customers who have an iPhone 6 can use VoLTE or 4G Calling on our network. The majority our customers will be able to use 4G Calling once we have completed the rollout early next year.”
This 4G Calling project is supported by technology partner Nokia, and delivers a key part of Vodafone’s voice evolution strategy.
The devices that can now use VoLTE in Auckland include: iPhone 6 and newer, Samsung S9/S9+, S10/S10+/S10E, Note 10 and the Vodafone-branded Z9. More models from Samsung and Huawei will follow. Also the RBI/FWA CPE B525.
Currently, Apple phone users will need to switch VoLTE on manually, under Settings > Mobile > Mobile Data Options > Enable 4G Voice and Data. For Samsung handset users, VoLTE is set to be default on for VoLTE capable devices, so customers with an S9 or S10 will see “VoLTE” on the top of their screen.