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Standard User baby_frogmella
(experienced) Sun 01-Mar-15 21:16:55
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Is EE 4G still data only?


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Hi,
Just noticed that EE 4G now covers Inverness and according to their checker, my IV2 postcode has continuous 4G coverage. However last time i popped a EE PAYG sim in my phone (2 months ago) I could only get a 2G signal inside & outside my property. So assuming EE 4G is now available in my property, would data use 4G and voice use 2G? Will EE (& other operators) ever use 4G for voice? From experience voice over 2G is pants and to get anything like crystal clear land-line call quality on a mobile, you need 3G minimum.

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Standard User David_W
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 02-Mar-15 00:17:26
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
There are others here in a better position to offer properly informed comment, though, as far as I am aware, none of the UK networks are offering VoLTE (4G voice) just yet.

The problem is that VoLTE works in a very different way to 2G and 3G voice. The 4G LTE network is pure IP with no legacy circuit switched calls, so VoLTE is somewhat similar to running VoIP over the Internet. The network infrastructure requirements for VoLTE are rather different to legacy circuit switched calls and some of the current crop of 4G handsets lack proper firmware support for VoLTE. Some handsets supporting VoLTE lack support for SRVCC, which allows a call started on VoLTE to switch to 3G or 2G voice mid call if you move out of 4G coverage.

With all this complexity, it's not surprising that the networks chose to launch 4G service with voice calls falling back to the 3G and 2G networks. The commercial driver for 4G service at launch was data.


In time, VoLTE will arrive as the networks modernise their infrastructure and the proportion of subscribers with VoLTE capable handsets increases. As you say, 2G voice quality is increasingly unacceptable to the 2015 consumer, also it can be inconvenient to lose high speed data during a voice call because your phone has fallen back to the 3G or 2G networks. Eventually, the network operators will want to get rid of the 2G network in areas of good quality 4G coverage, but this is unlikely to be possible without VoLTE considering how much 3G service is on 2.1GHz with its relatively poor building penetration.

My understanding is that EE are likely to launch VoLTE early this year, though I don't know exactly when.

Standard User epyon
(experienced) Mon 02-Mar-15 04:57:47
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
All networks will be data only for a long time I think

give it another 2 years.

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Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 02-Mar-15 06:54:04
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by baby_frogmella:
From experience voice over 2G is pants and to get anything like crystal clear land-line call quality on a mobile, you need 3G minimum.


Yes, 4G data with 2G voice is very common, CSFB (circuit switched fall back) makes this possible. SMS texting goes over 4G.

EE's latest big publication (Signalling the Future) briefing state they will launch VoLTE - Voice over LTE - (4G) this year.

http://ee.co.uk/content/dam/everything-everywhere/Ne...

2G voice calling is usually okay on EE and Vodafone, equal to a land line. On 3G, EE and Vodafone and Three offer HD Voice but only when calling someone on the same network. HD voice is as clear as Apple Facetime Audio or most skype calls. Voice over LTE is supposed to be the same but bring inter-network operation.

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Edited by jchamier (Mon 02-Mar-15 06:55:07)

Standard User bookey
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 02-Mar-15 10:43:15
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by baby_frogmella:
Hi,
Just noticed that EE 4G now covers Inverness and according to their checker, my IV2 postcode has continuous 4G coverage. However last time i popped a EE PAYG sim in my phone (2 months ago) I could only get a 2G signal inside & outside my property. So assuming EE 4G is now available in my property, would data use 4G and voice use 2G? Will EE (& other operators) ever use 4G for voice? From experience voice over 2G is pants and to get anything like crystal clear land-line call quality on a mobile, you need 3G minimum.


If you are happy to share you postcode with me I can take a closer look at serving cells etc...?
2G on all networks is not equal, O2 use a half rate codec for 2G voice for capacity reasons, Vodafone use it in selective areas, EE use a full rate codec.

As mentioned in other posts EE (and now VF) use the HD-Voice codec on the 3G networks but both calling parties have to be on 3G and the same operator.

When any operator launches VoLTE they will use the HD-Voice codec then no transcoding will be required between 4G and 3G covered calling parties.

VoLTE is coming but Wifi Calling will come first...

Paul
Standard User bookey
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 02-Mar-15 10:52:01
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: David_W] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by David_W:
There are others here in a better position to offer properly informed comment, though, as far as I am aware, none of the UK networks are offering VoLTE (4G voice) just yet.

The problem is that VoLTE works in a very different way to 2G and 3G voice. The 4G LTE network is pure IP with no legacy circuit switched calls, so VoLTE is somewhat similar to running VoIP over the Internet. The network infrastructure requirements for VoLTE are rather different to legacy circuit switched calls and some of the current crop of 4G handsets lack proper firmware support for VoLTE. Some handsets supporting VoLTE lack support for SRVCC, which allows a call started on VoLTE to switch to 3G or 2G voice mid call if you move out of 4G coverage.

With all this complexity, it's not surprising that the networks chose to launch 4G service with voice calls falling back to the 3G and 2G networks. The commercial driver for 4G service at launch was data.


In time, VoLTE will arrive as the networks modernise their infrastructure and the proportion of subscribers with VoLTE capable handsets increases. As you say, 2G voice quality is increasingly unacceptable to the 2015 consumer, also it can be inconvenient to lose high speed data during a voice call because your phone has fallen back to the 3G or 2G networks. Eventually, the network operators will want to get rid of the 2G network in areas of good quality 4G coverage, but this is unlikely to be possible without VoLTE considering how much 3G service is on 2.1GHz with its relatively poor building penetration.

My understanding is that EE are likely to launch VoLTE early this year, though I don't know exactly when.


SRVCC is painful and difficult, it is better to push 4G coverage to be greater than that of 2G and don't provide any level of fall back....
2G network has another 20 years left in it, the spectrum used may decrease but a lot of M2M type services rely on this, solid base layer and have no need for high bandwidth services.
Expect the 3G network to cease before that of 2G, 4G is a much better data layer and a much better blend of spectrum.

There is consideration to use HD-Voice on the 2G stack but it would be more spectrally efficient to move 10Mhz of spectrum from 2G to 4G to shift the capacity.

Paul
Standard User baby_frogmella
(experienced) Mon 02-Mar-15 12:49:45
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: bookey] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by bookey:
If you are happy to share you postcode with me I can take a closer look at serving cells etc...?
2G on all networks is not equal, O2 use a half rate codec for 2G voice for capacity reasons, Vodafone use it in selective areas, EE use a full rate codec.

As mentioned in other posts EE (and now VF) use the HD-Voice codec on the 3G networks but both calling parties have to be on 3G and the same operator.

When any operator launches VoLTE they will use the HD-Voice codec then no transcoding will be required between 4G and 3G covered calling parties.

VoLTE is coming but Wifi Calling will come first...


Thanks, my postcode is IV2 5FJ its a semi-rural location. Other than Three, none of the networks give me a solid 2G/3G signal in my home - signals fluctuate wildly depending which room i'm in and calls quite often cut off. Problem with Three is that i only get 1-2 bars of 3G signal which eats up my phone battery pretty fast. So i'm with Vodafone and using their Sure Signal 3G transmitter and on the whole it works very well, though it can be temperamental at times. So hopefully if/when EE implement voice over 4G in my postcode I might consider moving to them so that i can stop faffing around with 3G transmitters. Mobile data isn't important at home since i have wifi.

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Edited by baby_frogmella (Mon 02-Mar-15 12:56:00)

Standard User bookey
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 02-Mar-15 13:10:40
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: baby_frogmella] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by baby_frogmella:
Thanks, my postcode is IV2 5FJ its a semi-rural location. Other than Three, none of the networks give me a solid 2G/3G signal in my home - signals fluctuate wildly depending which room i'm in and calls quite often cut off. Problem with Three is that i only get 1-2 bars of 3G signal which eats up my phone battery pretty fast. So i'm with Vodafone and using their Sure Signal 3G transmitter and on the whole it works very well, though it can be temperamental at times. So hopefully if/when EE implement voice over 4G in my postcode I might consider moving to them so that i can stop faffing around with 3G transmitters. Mobile data isn't important at home since i have wifi.


That's a little odd, as EE and Three share the same antenna heads for 3G service, hence I would expect similar performance of the RF.
The 4G EE signal you are picking up is from a tall building in the center of Inverness located off Friar St, aka a fair distance away.

Another 4G planned cell between the river and Culduthel, but that won't benefit you. EE have your serving cell at Ashton Farm, when that goes live for 4G services you will have more stable indoor coverage but we are missing a trick here...

Wifi calling is VoLTE but over the wifi layer, so if its to get better call service in your house, just switch to a 4G enabler + wifi calling handset once its launched and you can use your fibre broadband as your backhaul.

Paul
Standard User jchamier
(eat-sleep-adslguide) Mon 02-Mar-15 18:27:52
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: bookey] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by bookey:
Wifi calling is VoLTE but over the wifi layer, so if its to get better call service in your house, just switch to a 4G enabler + wifi calling handset once its launched and you can use your fibre broadband as your backhaul.

Still waiting for this smile I noticed the web page has been updated to mention the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Microsoft Lumia phones, but no mention of iPhones.
http://ee.co.uk/ee-and-me/network/wifi-calling

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Standard User bookey
(fountain of knowledge) Mon 02-Mar-15 18:32:37
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Re: Is EE 4G still data only?


[re: jchamier] [link to this post]
 
Don't worry, these iPhones will support Wifi Calling when launched
5C
5S
6
6+

Paul
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