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Vodafone begins Voice over LTE (4G) rollout, a first for NZ

Vodafone has introduced Voice over LTE (4G) sites throughout Auckland’s North Shore. This is the first VoLTE offering in New Zealand, and the first phase of a nationwide rollout for Vodafone.

From Saturday June 8, all iPhone users with an iPhone 6 or above will have the option of upgrading carrier settings, which enables VoLTE. Samsung s9 and s9+ users will be able to upgrade their device by the end of June. Other devices will be enabled in following months.

As such, users will stay on 4G rather than 3G or 2G when making calls. According to Vodafone, the call quality and speed of call connections is improved by this upgrade.

Customers on Android will know they are in a VoLTE area via a symbol that will be displayed near their signal strength indicator on their device home screen, while iPhone users will see the 4G symbol.

All Vodafone customers on eligible plans, as detailed by Vodafone, will be offered VoLTE services with no further charge. Calls will be charged at the same rate as 3G calls are presently. Provisioning of the service is scheduled for completion by the end of June.

Vodafone technology director Tony Baird says, "The call set-up time is almost instant. No more waiting several seconds to connect. You might get a fright the first few times you use it, with people already saying 'Hello' by the time you get your phone to your ear. It really is the next evolution in voice calling."

In addition, through its RBI1 initiative, Vodafone will expand 4G coverage to rural New Zealand.

Baird says, "The key benefit for rural customers is the expansion of 4G network coverage itself, which means more rural New Zealanders will be connected."

"In addition, currently, cell towers look for 3G when someone makes a call. This means anyone using data in the household, say they're streaming or gaming for example, will also drop down to 3G and very likely notice a drop in speed or performance.

"With a VoLTE-enabled device, calls will be made over 4G rather than dropping down, which means people using data in the household will also stay on 4G and have a better user experience," he says.