Vodafone has completed a trial of 4G voice calls that provide faster call connections on compatible mobile phones.
Vodafone said it will continue extensive laboratory and field testing before making 4G calling available to customers later this year.
The technology, voice over LTE (VoLTE), can connect calls two to three times as fast as mobile calls today, said Vodafone CTO Benoit Hanssen.
“There’ll be virtually no lag between pressing the call button and being connected to the number you’ve dialled.”
In addition, the technology allows mobile phone users to talk on their device and access 4G data at the same time. Currently, when a 4G smartphone user makes a call they are only able to use the 3G network during the call.
“This is the next stage of our network evolution made possible through the introduction of our new core network,” said Hanssen.
The upgrade of Vodafone’s core IP network, which has been designed by Ericsson under a five-year contract, was announced in August last year. The overhaul was part of the number-three telco's planned $1 billion network spending last year.
In addition to providing VoLTE, the network upgrade is expected to reduce costs and enable Vodafone to introduce other 4G services.
The 4G platform was originally developed as a platform to carry data. Existing 4G phones still use older network technologies for voice.
To access 4G voice, customers will need to own a phone that is compatible with VoLTE. These include the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 4, and the Huawei Ascend Y550.