ITU-T to develop framework for VoLTE/ViLTE interconnection

Year 2016 kicks-off with a new, high-priority ITU-T standards initiative to broker the international agreement of a framework for the interconnection of Voice and Video over LTE (VoLTE/ViLTE)-based networks. The framework will assist in expanding industry’s offer of VoLTE/ViLTE ‘roaming’, where interactions between subscribers of different networks will be supported by seamless packet-based, high-quality voice and video communications.

The standards initiative to improve VoLTE/ViLTE service interoperability will be led by ITU’s standardization expert group responsible for ‘signalling requirements, protocols and test specifications’, ITU-T Study Group 11 (SG11).

The interconnection of subscribers of LTE-based networks remains a significant challenge to operators seeking to offer their customers interoperable, high-quality VoLTE/ViLTE services. A variety of feature-rich standards provide for VoLTE/ViLTE interconnection, but a lack of uniformity in the application of these standards’ features at the international level has led to the persistence of challenges to the quality of VoLTE/ViLTE services and the ability to provide VoLTE/ViLTE roaming.

The results of an ITU workshop on VoLTE/ViLTE roaming in December 2015 led the subsequent meeting of SG11 to initiate the development of a new ITU-T standard (ITU-T Recommendation) to codify the international agreement of a “Framework of interconnection of VoLTE/ViLTE-based networks”. To this end, SG11 will conduct a ‘gap analysis’ of existing VoLTE/ViLTE standards and specify service scenarios for VoLTE/ViLTE interconnection. The new ITU-T Recommendation is expected to build greater uniformity in the use of existing, feature-rich standards capable of enabling VoLTE/ViLTE interconnection.

This initiative will be undertaken in close cooperation with other standards bodies, building on existing standards and answering to industry’s need for a unified international reference for VoLTE/ViLTE interconnection. Network operators will be the driving force behind ITU-T’s VoLTE/ViLTE standards initiative. GSMA and the ETSI Technical Committee for Core Network and Interoperability Testing (ETSI TC INT) are among the bodies to have expressed interest in contributing to the initiative, alongside companies including A1 Telekom Austria AG, Telecom Italia, Rostelecom, Deutsche Telekom and NEC.

The span of ITU-T work on VoLTE/ViLTE includes the deployment of signalling protocols for VoLTE interconnection, relevant numbering issues, quality of service (QoS) considerations, and emergency calls on VoLTE-based networks. These studies are undertaken by a variety of ITU-T Study Groups.

ITU-T members interested in contributing to the VoLTE/ViLTE initiative are invited to join the upcoming meetings of Q2/11 and Q11/11 to be held in conjunction with a meeting of ETSI TC INT in Sophia Antipolis, 21-24 March 2016.

Read more about ITU-T Study Group 11 on the group’s homepage.

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