VoLTE subscriptions to hit 3bn by 2021

The number of subscribers using voice over LTE (VoLTE) is set to rise from 488 million last year to over three billion in 2021, according to figures from Juniper Research.

Juniper’s report claims the wider deployment of 4G services means VoLTE is on the up, and will overtake adopters of over the top (OTT) voice services for the first time in 2021.

OTT has long been identified as a threat in the wholesale industry, but with 165 operators in 73 countries now investing in VoLTE services, voice is set to move back to traditional networks, Juniper claims.

The rise of VoLTE will bring with it a significant rise in data traffic. In 2016, 2,000 petabytes was attributed to VoLTE, but this will increase seven-fold over the next four years. VoLTE minutes is predicted to top 10 trillion by 2021.

In its Mobile Voice: Operator Strategies & Vendor Opportunities 2017-2021 report, Juniper also predicts the widespread launch of national and international VoLTE roaming, identifying platform providers such as Syniverse and Tata Communications to play a key role in future roaming launches.

"Operators have historically used service coverage as a differentiation point; selling the notion of 'always available'," noted research author Sam Barker. "The depth and breadth of high-quality voice services will now serve to enrich that offering and entice users: 'always available, always best-in-class'."