Google’s Project Fi MVNO has sneakily began to roll out Voice over LTE service for a currently undefined number of customers recently.
Users of the service may notice the signal indicator will display LTE instead of H (HSPA) when receiving or making a call, which will indicate the use of VoLTE. That said, this will only be the case should the user be piggy backing on T-Mobile US infrastructure, as it is the only Project Fi partner to date with the capabilities.
The roll out was confirmed amid very little fanfare, as Project Fi Community Manager Alena made the announcement to users on a Project Fi Help Forum.
“Some of you have noticed this already, but over the past few weeks we have been testing VoLTE with a subset of Project Fi users,” writes Alena. “You can tell you’re making a VoLTE call because your signal indicator will continue to display LTE instead of falling to H [HSPA] when you make or receive a call.”
Google has stated the advantages of VoLTE over more traditional means include higher quality calls over data without using any of your data allocation, faster data browsing during an on-going call and faster call setup.
The Google team certainly do have a habit of stirring things up in the telco and tech space, and Project Fi looks to be no exception. Instead of partnering with one mobile network operator, Project Fi leans on three, switching dependent on which has the strongest connectivity. It’s a useful idea and could prove to be quite a disruptor should it be as effective as Google aims.
Aside from T-Mobile US, Project Fi is also partnered with Sprint and US Cellular, but neither can support VoLTE. AT&T and Verizon both can, but have resisted the charms of Google to date.
Although it is making the right noises currently, it is far from a guaranteed success. For all the positive messages executives were putting out to the industry concerning Google Fiber, that venture made its way to the ‘also-ran’ category.
It would also appear Telecoms.com readers are not that confident in the success of the tech giant. A couple of weeks ago we asked whether Google was capable of diversification from its core business of search advertising, and the feedback was not immensely flattering. Check out the infographic below