Telstra brings voice calls to small cells

Telco adds VoLTE support to small cells in regional Australia

Telstra has rolled support for voice calls across its small cell sites.

The telco in 2014 began rolling out small cells in regional Australia. The cells act as a miniature cellular base station but until now were only capable of delivering mobile data access to customers.

Telstra said today, however, that it had begun to enable Voice of LTE (VoLTE) support on small cells.

The company said that in FY17 it had switched on 50 small cells sites. Another 10 are set to be switched on before the end of the year.

“This technology highlights the ongoing investments we are making in our mobile network for our rural customers,” Telstra group managing director, network, Mike Wright said in a statement.

“We know how important mobile voice calling is for local communities and businesses and we are proud to be the first carrier in Australia to provide voice calling via 4G only small cells.”

As part of its bid for funding in the first round of the government’s mobile blackspots program, Telstra committed to installing 250 small cells across Australia.

(Telstra is ponying up all of the money for the small cell rollout, but it is receiving first round funding to help roll out 429 mobile base stations. In the second round of the program it received funding for another 148 base stations.)

Optus has also used small cells to augment its regional mobile coverage.

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