Already launched in the North, Northeast and Midwest capitals (including Brasilia and totaling 20 cities), TIM's VoLTE technology is also reaching São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The operator started activating the service this week, after a few months of testing. The two capitals are the only ones where high definition voice over the 4G network is being offered without the 700 MHz band, which should only be released in those locations after the first half of 2018.
The launch is part of TIM's strategy with a focus on LTE and LTE-Advanced technology. The goal of the company is to reach the end of the year with more than a thousand cities with VoLTE enabled.
As explained by the operator's CTO, Leonardo Capdeville, VoLTE needs continuous coverage for quality assurance without interruption. "We launched in Rio and Sao Paulo without the 700 MHz because we did a project that we call a full layer, in which all the TIM sites we launched the 1,800 MHz," he said. The executive believes that competition will have difficulty, at least for now, to offer the same technology in the state capitals of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo because of the advanced refarming that the company has promoted since 2016.
It is worth noting that the interview was conducted by telephone in São Paulo using the technology of tele, including moving in a car. In addition to flawless operation and superior audio quality, the connection started faster as well. Capdeville says the call is started four times faster than in the traditional way. Also note that there is battery saving of the device.
The launch in Rio and in São Paulo first starts with users of postpaid plans, and should be released for the entire post base by the end of the month. In October, TIM should begin offering the resource also to the prepaid base. "The idea is to take it step by step," he explains. The VoLTE will not have additional cost and, it is worth remembering, it does not consume the franchise, although it also uses the data network.
As it offers a better experience in calls, the operator believes that there will be growth in minutes of use (MOU). "What is happening is that most of TIM's offers already have unlimited voice, on-net and off-net, and the differentiation is more in the data package," he says. Because of this, the chief technology officer expects VoLTE's carrier-to-VoLTE call rate in the future to be as it currently is at T-Mobile in the United States, where more than 90 percent of calls are made through the technology.
After connecting the LTE at 700 MHz in Brasília, the company jumped from 60% of indoor penetration to 99%. The idea is to repeat this increase for almost total indoor coverage in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro as soon as the spectrum is released. For now, with just the addition of the 1800 MHz band, Capdeville estimates that penetration is around 75%, with room for improvement. "We still have things to improve on the subway, we have already done some actions, but it is not at the level we would like," he says. He says traffic has doubled since he started offering the 700 MHz band precisely because more customers were able to use the technology.
Courtesy of BRUNO DO AMARAL - Teletime