Ericsson, AT&T and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., are the first to announce the performance of a successful Voice over LTE (VoLTE) call for Internet of Things (IoT) on existing mobile network infrastructure with new software activation and new modem device that supports CAT-M1/LTE-M technology.

The demonstration used Qualcomm Technologies’ MDM9206 LTE modem, designed to support Cat-M1/ LTE-M, as well as Ericsson LTE Radio Access Network, Ericsson IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), Ericsson Evolved Packet Core (EPC) and Ericsson User Data Management network infrastructure and new software. The demonstration shows that the technology is mature and ready for commercial deployment in operator networks.

“AT&T is proud to participate alongside Ericsson and Qualcomm Technologies to advance VoLTE support over Cat-M1/LTE-M,” says Chris Penrose, President, IoT Solutions, AT&T. “The ability to support voice services is an important feature to many verticals within our IoT portfolio, including our customers in the alarm and security industry, automotive, wearables and connected health markets.”

Extending mobile voice service capabilities to IoT devices opens up opportunities to expand enterprise services to areas such as security alarm panels, remote first aid kits, wearables, digital locks, disposable security garments, and other types of IoT-enabled applications and services.

This means that IoT devices using VoLTE on Cat-M1/LTE-M will allow enterprises to make voice calls, extending the capabilities of operators’ mobile networks by tapping into the extensive and innovative IoT device ecosystem.

Cat-M1/LTE-M -enabled IoT devices have advantages including low cost, low power consumption, deep coverage, massive connections and high reliability of transmission. Combined with existing leading LTE coverage and voice communication capabilities, operators can deploy a range of applications in smart cities, logistics, utilities, medicine, transport, mining, agriculture, manufacturing and many more.

Anders Olin, Head of Network Applications, Business Unit IT and Cloud Products, Ericsson, says: “With this successful demonstration of Cat-M1/LTE-M also supporting VoLTE voice calls in IoT devices, we are providing more value to operators and users. The benefit of basic human communication blends perfectly into the IoT environment. Supported by our radio and core portfolios, it will now be feasible to globally deploy voice services for IoT cost-effectively for all kinds of industries and different use cases.”

Vieri Vanghi, Vice President, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies,Inc., says: “We are very pleased to have successfully demonstrated VoLTE on Cat-M1/LTE-M technology. This is a significant milestone toward delivering a whole new set of applications and services for the enterprise IoT. Our MDM9206 LTE modem, representing the company’s latest innovation, designed to support low-power, low-bandwidth and cost efficient IoT applications and services continues to help drive new use cases for IoT, and now specifically for those that need voice services.”

Cat-M1/LTE-M technology, as defined in the latest 3GPP Release 13, will play an important role in the future rollout of IoT enabled devices worldwide, as it provides a unique combination of enhanced coverage and long battery life, as well as security-rich and reliable connectivity for a new generation of IoT applications and services. Cat-M1/LTE-M allows for voice over LTE (VoLTE) to be bandwidth and cost-efficiently deployed.

VoLTE uptake is projected to accelerate and reach 3.3 billion by the end of 2022, making up more than 60 percent of all LTE subscriptions. In 2022 it is expected that there will be 18 billion connected IoT devices globally (according to the Ericsson Mobility Report Nov). Ericsson is present today in all high-traffic LTE markets including the US, Japan and South Korea, and is ranked first for handling the most global LTE traffic. In addition, 40 percent of the world’s total mobile traffic is carried over Ericsson networks. More than 270 LTE RAN and Evolved Packet Core networks have been delivered by Ericsson worldwide, of which 200 are live commercially. Ericsson has launched more than 30 live VoLTE networks globally.