By Emma Okonji

Voice over Long Term Evolution (VoLTE), which is the next generation technology, will soon cause a major disruption for roaming services currently being delivered by core telecommunications operators, as more operators rollout the VoLTE service, THISDAY has learnt.

The new technology, when fully deployed, will completely eliminate roaming services that are characterised by high charges, when making and receiving calls in regions outside the network coverage areas.

Smile Communications, which became the first operator to launch VoLTE in Nigeria in October last year, made the disclosure in Lagos, when it introduced two new 4G LTE innovations, the Smile Voice and Smile Unlimited.

What is currently obtainable is that when subscribers travel outside the country, to different geographical locations with different time zones, the subscriber can only make and receive calls with the aid of another network in the new time zone. Also, the interconnection rate and call termination fees between the subscriber’s original network provider and the new network provider, are usually very exorbitant, a situation that has denied many subscribers who travel outside their zones, from making important calls to their loved ones and business partners. Those that dare to make calls, pay heavily as much as N150 per minute to make calls and N50 per minute to receive calls.

But with the introduction of VoLTE technology calls, which is gradually being introduced into Nigeria, subscribers can actually make calls and receive calls without paying for roaming charges, provided they are connected to a VoLTE network.

Announcing the launch of the Smile Voice and Smile Unlimited on its VoLTE in Lagos recently, the Managing Director, Smile Communications Nigeria, Mr. Michiel Buitelaar, said Smile VoLTE would offer a complete telecoms service, from where subscribers could make their choice.

Once a customer is connected to the network, the customer could make calls on VoLTE, while eliminating the high cost charged for roaming services across networks.

“To use SmileVoice, customers will be required to have a registered SIM card, or download a free app and an active SmileData service. When out of range of the Smile network, the SmileVoice app will enable calls from any device that is connected to the internet via 3G or WiFi at home and abroad. Customers who make calls while traveling abroad, will be charged their local call rates, as if they were calling from home,” Buitelaar said.

Elaborating on the two innovations, Buitelaar said the Smile Voice comes in two options, using the world-first downloadable free mobile app that affords customers the ability to make super clear calls over the Smile 4G LTE network, using any connected handsets with a Smile SIM, while the SmileUnlimited offers customers 30 days of unlimited access to the Smile Super fast 4G LTE mobile broadband service.

The Chief Marketing Officer, Smile Nigeria, Alero Ladipo, said: “It is targeted at heavy users and to ensure that they do not run out of data within the 30 days period, irrespective of the volume of usage.”