VoLTE Roaming in the Wild

Due to the ongoing pandemic, it’s been a while since I last traveled abroad and had some time to have a look how roaming has evolved. But things are slowly getting better and I recently had the opportunity to go on a quick trip to Austria. And I’ve been very positively surprised that my favorite home network operator and my favorite roaming operator in Austria have switched-on VoLTE Roaming in the meantime!

I’ve been involved a bit in making VoLTE-Roaming work in practice in the past, but all my VoLTE-Roaming calls so far have been for testing purposes. But this time around, VoLTE-Roaming was switched-on for everybody. While I was not surprised that it worked well, and call establishment times are now just as quick as in my home network, I was a bit surprised to see that even a low end and quite old mobile device from 2017 has received a software update in the meantime to enable VoLTE-Roaming. I did not quite expect that.

I then tried to push this a bit to see if SR-VCC (Single Radio Voice Call Continuity) to hand-over ongoing voice calls to 2G or 3G when running out of LTE coverage was also activated. But I always had sufficient LTE coverage whenever I made a call, so I never had the chance to find out. Hm, some challenges just disappear over time.

It’s good to see VoLTE-Roaming in practice now! This is a major step forward, and a major piece in the puzzle to enable the industry to switch-off the remaining legacy radio layer (GSM in some countries, UMTS in others) at some point in the future. But it’s still a long way until then, as not all network operators have begun the transition.

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