02 October 2014 |

As if there was not already enough for carriers to consider when upgrading their networks to support VoLTE, modifications must be also made to the Policy and Charging Rules Function (PCRF).

The PCRF sits in the control plane of networks and has evolved in recent years to help operators implement third usage and data plans. According to Ann Hatchell, director of marketing for the Amdocs Data Experience business unit, the question coming up is whether operators can leverage those same PCRFs to deliver VoLTE services.

“The performance overheads that come with a VoLTE session are significant. There is a lot of signalling, which puts tremendous pressure on the policy control systems in terms of managing those system interactions. It’s a complex call model,” she says. “The other thing is that operators are managing their data plans using the PCRF, and data plans change all the time.”

According to research by Heavy Reading, 70% of service providers said they would have to update their PCRF to incorporate VoLTE. Hatchell says an education process is underway as operators examine what impact VoLTE has on systems such as PCRF.

In April, Amdocs launched a policy control solution for VoLTE, which is designed to support IP voice requirements such as emergency call prioritisation, voice roaming and voice call reliability with session geo-redundancy, and differentiated IP voice services.

“Our solution is around helping operators manage the setup and tear down of the VoLTE calls, and all the added services that go along with it,” says Hatchell. “Longer term, it won’t just be about voice. Operators will want to bundle this with rich communications services, such as video.”

The solution is said to be vendor neutral, and Amdocs has conducted interoperability testing to ensure that the solution can come in and “sit” in the network. “Everybody is trying to figure out what their VoLTE strategy will be and we are seeing a tremendous interest in this now,” adds Hatchell.

Read Capacity's Market Strategy feature on VoLTE – 'The second coming of voice' – by clicking here.