VoLTE currently shaves 50% of a smartphone’s talk time battery life. Is there reason to worry?

November 30, 2012
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    volte vs cdma

    Voice over LTE (often referred to as VoLTE), widely regarded as an evolutionary step in voice calling, has already been launched in the United States on a limited number of carriers and smartphones. However, according to a recent study from Spirent Communications, VoLTE technology currently has a major drawback: it empties the smartphone’s battery two times as fast as CDMA, the standard used by most carriers in the United States.

    Ardeshir Ghanbarzadeh, the author of the research paper has reached these results by switching between VoLTE and CDMA an an unnamed carrier – smartphone combination in the US. While making calls using the new VoLTE standard, talk-time battery life was reduced in half compared to the talk-time battery life measured making CDMA phone calls. No data was transferred during the phone calls in this first study.

    However, this doesn’t exactly mean that VoLTE is compromised, as it is most likely a matter of (un)properly optimizing the devices and the LTE networks:

    “The significant difference in current drain between VoLTE and CDMA technologies for voice calling applications suggests further optimization of devices supporting VoLTE calls are needed in order to give end-users talk-time battery life expectancy levels similar to that of 3G devices,” said Ardeshir Ghanbarzadeh.

    In addition, a secondary use scenario has proven that the VoLTE already has some battery life advantages over the CDMA standard, even before the networks and smartphones are properly optimized for the new technology.

    A second study has implied simultaneous voice and data usage over an LTE network. When making the phone calls using VoLTE and transferring data using LTE, the battery life was drained 11 percent slower as compared to making the phone calls using CDMA and transferring data using LTE. As the author notes, this is due to the fact that in the first scenario the battery only has to power the LTE radio, and it does both tasks, while in the second scenario both the CDMA and the LTE radio need to be active, thus draining more juice.

    Hopefully, carriers will invest additional resources into properly calibrating VoLTE power usage before they mass adopt the new phone making standard.

    Is this a scary report? Do you think these VoLTE power issues will be solved before the new tech if widely adopted? Let us know what you make of it in the comment section below!

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    Comments

    • mikkej2k

      CDMA is the standard used by most carriers in the US?

      • tomn1ce

        Why the concern about GSM in the vast majority of the world?…The author is writing about VoLTE capable phones in the US and not in the rest of the world… o_0

        • mikkej2k

          The concern isn’t so much global as it is common sense. LTE is an advanced form of GSM technology , so why spend time and resources on a standard that is not compatible? ” It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies” -Wikipedia

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