back to article Mobile VoIP waits on 4G networks

Mobile VoIP services have yet to make their mark on the telecoms market, despite the availability of suitable technology. Barriers to adoption might leave services languishing, at least until the rollout of next-generation mobile networks by carriers, according to panelists at a debate on the topic at the NetEvents summit in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A price issue

    This is no longer a question of technology. Operators fear that IP-carried voice will cannibalise their existing market. They won't drop prices for data-transmission until they get serious competition from an alternative transmission media, or that the PSTN/mobile cartels are broken.

  2. Anton Ivanov

    @A price issue

    Nothing to do with pricing.

    1. I am typing this off a laptop with a cellular modem travelling between Cambridge and London (dead in the middle of the "civilised" part of the UK. There is 3G coverage on under 20% of the route. Rest either has none or has only GPRS (no edge due to Voda's infinite wisdom). This is so far away from being useable for VOIP it is not even funny.

    2. The 3G bandwidth allocation model is very good as far as allocating channels to voice over 3G. It sucks bricks through a thin straw sidewise as far as multiple data clients are concerned. The network neither has the capacity, nor the scalability to support a large number of VOIP clients (even with HSDPA which does not change this part of the MAC layer).

    3. The IP layer QoS is not interfaced into 3G MAC layer QoS so while technically possible VOIP will suffer from horrid dropouts once the network gets loaded (once again, someone needs to look into the data model for 3G instead of listening to too much marketing whale songs).

    4. The Round trip time on 3G in in the UK is firmly in the 200ms + twilight zone. As a result any calls to another similar client, transatlantics, or even to cellular will have noticeable delay.

    5. The networks are currently mostly NAT-ed behind a single address or small address pool. While this may work fine for now it will get very entertaining with a lot of VOIP connections as far as resources are concerned (unless the operator puts local VOIP servers).

    And so on. Frankly, unless 4G rewrites the book on the way the MAC layer is used and allocated to devices over time VOIP 3G is dead on arrival.

  3. amanfromMars Silver badge

    Ye Olde Hippy Approach......

    ...../Controlled Crash Landing/Navel Wave. Turkish dDelight:...Fatima's Veiled Wishes. Oy Vey!

    "Operators fear that IP-carried voice will cannibalise their existing market. "

    Anonymous Vulture,

    If we consider that the existing market monitors and mines Information in its networks to stay ahead of the game, how much easier to share new Information freely so that all networks can benefit 42 Build with New IDers.... IntelAIgent Designers.

    InterNetWorkers....Busy Being.

  4. Nigel Wright


    Why would anyone want Voip on 3G when so many tariffs have huge numbers of inclusive minutes at low cost?

    Why would anyone want Voip on Wi-Fin using a mobile when WiFi has dubious reliability, poor penetration, poor security and when it sucks the life out of a battery in no time at all?

    A decent mobile, with decent battery life on a low-cost/many minutes inclusive tariff is still very hard to beat. It's easy to use, easy to manage and easy to set up.

  5. HeavyLight

    re. A price issue

    You've not heard of Three's X-series, I guess?

    Why wait for 4G when Truphone seems to work well on 3G networks (and roams to wifi when available)?

  6. James Body

    Why? - Because it just works!

    Nigel - perhaps you had better try out the latest generation of WiFi handsets - like the Nokia E61i - which runs for upwards of 2-3 days on WiFi between charges!

    Whilst I cannot vouch for the reliability of your WiFi (sounds like you have problems) - I can report that my WiFi Access Points at home and at my office work reliably with VoIP. I use Truphone which incorporates a 'spider' which registers the handset onto the VoIP network every time I come into range of a known WiFi AP withou any user interaction. This works well with my own secured APs (WPA2) and with commercial services sucha s The Cloud.

    If you have not tried it yet, do so. It just works!

  7. James Body

    VoIP on H3G Data

    Oh - and I forgot to mention - I also have H3G X-Series Gold - this offers unlimited 3G data on the H3G network and when this is not available roams off onto the Orange EDGE service. This costs me the princely sum of GBP 5.00 per month!

    Prior to signing up for the X-Series service I used T-Mobile Web 'n Walk (on pre-paid SIM). This offered remarkably good value at GBP1.00 per day capped - in one day I managed around 650 MB - and all for one pound!

    Of the two services, the H3G/Orange offering appears to offer the best throughput AND coverage - but I retain the PAYG T-Mobile service as my backup data service .

    Both H3G and T-Mobile 3G data services work well with Truphone VoIP (which only requires a miserly 20 kbps or so for high quality voice and clearly copes well with the latency, jitter and packet loss, even on T-Mobile's highly contended service).

  8. Christopher


    Personally, I feel that 3G is powerful enough for tele-communications to move ahead quite substantially. After playing around with software such as Yeigo, from, it becomes rather apparent that the mobile industry combined with VoIP is on going to get better and better.

    I don't disagree that 4G is going to be incredible, but I think that 3G is plenty powerful enough to move away from the title of this article somewhat..

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