Google Pixel 2 will soon support VoLTE on Vodafone India
VoLTE (short for Voice over LTE) is the next generation standard for voice calling on 4G LTE networks. It uses IP-based technology to place calls directly over LTE, instead of using CSFB (Circuit Switched Fallback) to place calls and deliver SMS messages on legacy networks such as 2G or 3G. With the roll-out of LTE nearly complete in most markets, VoLTE has become a popular feature since the last two years. The vast majority of networks around the world don’t have a necessity to use VoLTE, as they can still make calls and send messages thanks to CSFB. In India, however, the use of VoLTE skyrocketed in 2016 thanks to the rise of Reliance Jio. Jio is an all IP-based LTE network with no fallback for 2G/3G calling. Therefore, users need to have a VoLTE-capable smartphone to use Jio (or use Jio’s Jio4GVoice app).
Since 2016, many smartphones have been updated and released with VoLTE support for Indian carriers. It took Airtel and Vodafone India much longer to roll out VoLTE, but India’s top two carriers have rolled out VoLTE in major Indian cities. VoLTE-supported smartphones and feature phones are now found in the market for as little as ₹2,999. On the other hand, we have the Google Pixel. When it launched in 2016, the Google Pixel did not originally support VoLTE for Jio in India. This was a significant mistake at a time when consumer attention of Jio was at a peak thanks to free voice and data services. Google did eventually roll out an update for the Pixel to support VoLTE on Jio.
The Google Pixel 2 supported VoLTE for Jio out of the box, but by that time, Airtel and Vodafone had also started rolling out VoLTE for supported phones. Strangely, the Pixel 2 does not support VoLTE on Vodafone India and Airtel. Now, Google has fixed the issue for Vodafone India users by marking it as fixed in the issue tracker. VoLTE support for Vodafone India (which has now merged with Idea to form Vodafone Idea) will roll out in a future update. (There is no mention of when VoLTE will be rolled out for Airtel users.)
When the update rolls out, Pixel 2 users on Vodafone India can expect potentially higher quality calls if they are located in an area where LTE has been rolled out.