4G voice calls in Australia finally becoming a reality
Telstra and Vodafone are both using their 4G networks for voice as well as data.
4G phone networks in Australia offer much faster download speeds, which is why most people are keen to use them rather than older 3G networks. However, even if you're on a 4G network, your voice calls will still be routed via the 3G network. (You can read a more detailed explanation in our guide to the difference between 3G and 4G).
That's finally starting to change. Today (October 14) Vodafone announced plans to begin making its 4G voice network for some contract customers in December. Initially, it will be available on the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge + and Note 5. Customers using those phones will have to download an over-the-air (OTA) update to take advantage of the service. Vodafone says that it will expand access to the service to other devices and to prepaid and month-to-month customers in 2016.
That makes Vodafone the second local carrier to announce 4G voice plans. Telstra began testing voice services on 4G in April this year, and switched on the service for general access by contract customers in September. Telstra's support includes the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus as well as Samsung's newest handsets.
So what's the benefit of switching? 4G networks allow carriers to allocate mobile spectrum more efficiently, so you should get better data speeds and voice quality, especially in busy or congested areas. However, that will only work if your handset supports VoLTE (voice over LTE), which means older handsets won't be able to take advantage of it.
Picture: Vodafone Medlen, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (image cropped)