cell phone talkThe quality of mobile calls differentiates wireless services in the minds of customers and contributes to churn. And according to Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, persistent problems with mobile call quality will spur wireless  service providers to invest in technologies that address the issue — Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and HD voice in particular.

“Call quality affects operator expenses such as attracting and retaining customers,” commented report author and research analyst Tim Kridel. “The catch is that even when an operator provides call quality that’s noticeably superior to that of its rivals, it’s not necessarily something that customers will pay extra for.”

While VoLTE offers a new tool for improving the quality of mobile calls, HD Voice is seen as arguably having the greatest impact, according to Kridel. “Operator research indicates that HD Voice already is a market differentiator,” he was quoted in a press release. “However, operators won’t be able to charge a premium for superior call quality because as more operators deploy HD Voice and other enhancements, lifelike quality becomes table stakes.”

Key takeaways in Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider’s “Mobile Call Quality: Does Better Really Matter?” include:

  • Consumer surveys show call quality is a major loyalty factor, especially in the U.S.
  • Higher call quality can increase revenue by encouraging longer and more frequent calls
  • Higher call quality could spur more consumers and businesses to cut the cord
  • Cellular minutes of use are flat, but that doesn’t necessarily mean customers are talking less
  • HD Voice is a minor additional expense, partly because it leverages VoLTE
  • Infrastructure vendors say mobile operator RFIs and RFPs routinely ask about call quality
  • Mobile operators could use VoLTE and HD Voice to fend off OTT rivals
  • Call-quality upgrades also benefit non-voice services such as ringback tones, gaming and music