Consumers are increasingly looking to telecom service providers to offer them high-definition voice and video calling services over LTE and Wi-Fi, according to a survey of over 5,500 smartphone users in the U.S., the U.K., Japan and Brazil carried out by French telecommunications equipment company Alcatel-Lucent and U.S.-based research and consulting firm Penn Schoen Berland. The research found that over 30 percent of U.S. consumers expect that they will make more or longer calls thanks to VoLTE-enabled HD voice. Around half of consumers in the U.S. and the U.K. and 80 percent of users in Brazil expect to increase their use of video calling in the next five years. Over 60 percent of smartphone consumers in the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil are interested in using video calls to interact with businesses. Between 78 percent and 97 percent of all respondents said they would use Wi-Fi calling if it were offered by their service operator. In the U.S., the U.K. and Brazil, the main motivating factor is addressing areas of poor coverage, while in Japan it is saving voice plan minutes.
The results of this study are quite significant, we believe, and operators should take careful note of them. Across four markets on three continents—two large and highly developed, one smaller yet developed, and one large and developing—the results show that voice services will still be in demand among a wide range of consumers, provided that they are updated to high-definition versions. This is despite the data revolution and the trend toward use of social media (which themselves are supplanting texting, according to reports). Voice simply cannot be counted out in today’s evolving mobile marketplace. Consumers stated to the survey-takers that they would actually make more voice and video calls if the quality level were high enough. In order to make this high-quality calling possible, operators will need to invest more in LTE networks to improve their strength and coverage. The same goes for their Wi-Fi networks, which increasingly function in tandem with cellular service. VoLTE and HD video calling services offer operators a way to replace revenues from traditional voice and messaging services that have been lost to OTT apps over the past several years.