Will Smartphones Drive 3G Voice Adoption?

One thing I am wondering about when observing people in trains and restaurants in significant numbers now using smartphones to access Internet based services is what kind of effect his has on the shift of voice calls from GSM over to UMTS? Before the smartphone boom, I knew many people who bought a new UMTS capable mobile device but locking the device to 2G only to conserve battery power. I don't know too many people who do that anymore. When using a smartphone and Internet based services, locking the device to 2G for whatever reason is the last thing people want to do now. Consequently, voice calls that would have previously been made over the 2G network are now made over 3G and therefore reducing the load on the 2G network. The effect is likely countered to some degree by rising voice minutes per user per month in many countries but from a 2G/3G voice call distribution point of view I can very well imagine smartphones making a difference today.

4 thoughts on “Will Smartphones Drive 3G Voice Adoption?”

  1. Whats the purpose to have the call in 3G when the bandwith can be allocated to 2G?

    Point 1:
    Most of the Operators support just narrow Band AMR

    Point 2:
    Clear the 3G spektrum to PS where applicable.

    Point 3:
    3G is not everywhere available due to radio conditions. Better to make a a normal HO then a IRAT which could fail 🙂

  2. The problem with sticking to 2G is also that when you download something over GPRS/EDGE e.g. app from Android market in/outgoing voice calls are not possible. At least in my home network. I don’t know about adoption of DTM in other countries/network which could solve this problem. So using 3G seems to be safe choice in this case even at the expense of shorter battery life.

  3. I set my Nokia E7 to battery save mode … and it took me quite some time to realize that it was locked to 2G. I am a heavy emailer and web surfer but still the ultimate perception of 3G is not that overwhelming comapred with GPRS/EDGE when using smartphones.

  4. I believe the whole issue comes to data usage. Since people want data access everywhere, operators will have to go 900MHz/850MHz on 3G. At this point the coverage issues become a mute point.

    When we add the efficiency improvements of CPC, higher modulation and multiplexing over multiple codes via CS over HSPA, voice capacity usage in 3G cells will become “background noise” compared to data.

    How come? One voice call =12.2kbps, with all possible overheads in a bad case, call it 30kbps. How long will it be until HSPA+ offers 15Mbps/cell to the end user in real life? Not as far as many think. Then a voice call is only 0.2% of the cell capacity.

    Battery life with CS over HSPA is comparable already with 2G.

    At this point, why have 2G at all (not coverage, not capacity, what?)? So yes, I see the data requirements increase brought by smartphone adoption pushing voice to be 3G only as 2G networks will be shut down as an unnecessary burden on OPEX. I’ll give it 5-7 years for the first 2G networks to be shut down.

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