Johannesburg - Mobile network Vodacom has launched South Africa’s first ‘Voice over LTE’ (VoLTE) service.
VoLTE enables mobile voice traffic to be carried over a data network. The technology also promises better voice quality, the ability to connect calls quicker and the option to browse the web while simultaneously having a voice call.
Vodacom says owners of Samsung S6 devices will be able to use VoLTE first. This comes after the company started selling the Samsung S6 on Friday.
“Within the next month VoLTE functionality will be added to additional devices, and we expect usage will grow rapidly as more and more handset manufacturers include the functionality," said Andries Delport, Vodacom’s chief technology officer, in a statement.
The company says that there’s no additional charge to use the service, but Vodacom adds that the offering is only available to contract customers.
Vodacom also says that customers with compatible handsets will have to run a software update to enable the service. The update is expected to be available from Saturday.
Vodacom’s move to launch VoLTE comes after its competitor Cell C announced that it plans to invest R8bn into building its own LTE network.
Cell C, which has 20 million customers and is South Africa’s third largest mobile network, is the last of the country’s major operators to join the LTE race.
Vodacom, meanwhile, was the first operator to launch LTE in South Africa in 2012. Vodacom is South Africa's biggest mobile network with 30 million users.