Bell soft launches Voice Over LTE in select Ontario area codes

Daniel Bader

February 3, 2016 8:26am

Nearly a year after the rollout of Voice Over LTE by Rogers, Bell has soft launched the service in four Ontario area codes and on one device, in an effort to stamp out issues before releasing it to its entire customer base later this year.

Through public support documents and leaked materials sent to MobileSyrup, we’ve learned that Bell has quietly turned on Voice Over LTE for Galaxy S6 customers on numbers that begin with 416, 647, 905 and 289 area codes.

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To that end, Bell has created a document detailing how supported customers can access the new features. Besides having a compatible smartphone — right now, only the Galaxy S6 with the appropriate software update is supported — customers need a “consumer postpaid plan with data enabled… and an LTE SIM card,” along with sufficient LTE network coverage.

It goes on to explain that customers will “switch seamlessly to a regular voice call over the HSPA network” when leaving an LTE area while on a call, and that video calls will automatically become audio calls in the same situation.

It is unclear how long it will take for Bell to expand the service to other smartphones and area codes, but since the company shares a network with Telus, it’s likely a similar announcement will soon be made for those customers in Canada’s most western province. Bell previously used Toronto and its surrounding area to launch LTE-Advanced before expanding throughout Quebec and Eastern Canada.

A Bell representative didn’t respond to comment in time for publication. Galaxy S6 users looking to take advantage of VoLTE may have to wait for an upcoming software update to enable the feature.

  • QAM_FREQ

    Daniel
    Just inquiring, isn’t this feature available already on iPhone devices? Or is it that the S6 will be the first true device to have the capability (which I would not understand why). I am obviously missing some details here.

    • Bell and Samsung have a partnership. Samsung devices usually get everything first, if you haven’t noticed.

    • Comrade Yeti

      VoLTE is not WiFi calling. iPhones don’t have VoLTE on Bell but they do have WiFi calling.

    • gadgetmon

      To be clear.. The iphone 6 or later are capable of VoLTE calling provided the carrier enables it for usage.

    • Comrade Yeti

      Pretty much every phone launched in the last 2 years is capable, the key thing is without network support that doesn’t matter.

    • Daniel Bader

      It only works on the S6 for now. The iPhone 6/Plus/6s/6s Plus are VoLTE enabled but require a carrier software update, which hasn’t been released yet.

  • I’ve been using it on my LG G4 for most of a year on Bell’s network. I’ve never found it easy to hear well on cell phone, but VoLTE makes a world of difference. It’s just as clear, or even more clear, than landlines.

  • Max Fireman

    I guess having a note 5 doesn’t help me then. Damn

  • Eluder

    This is actually better than Rogers’ solution as it includes video calling. No more relying on Skype or Facetime as it’s supported by the network and device. Obviously this needs to launch on more area codes, devices, etc, but in the long run, this is a more complete solution than Rogers.

    • Steve

      rogers version of volte does include video calling .

    • Eluder

      Really? I don’t remember them ever advertising this.

    • Steve

      well its on Rogers website and I have used the video calling feature on my Galaxy S6

  • power_pizza

    Can a Bell subscriber in Ontario call a Rogers subscriber and utilize voLTE? (assuming they each have a supported device and conditions are perfect)

  • Vector_Calculus

    Does Video Calling over LTE count as DATA? or call minutes?

    • Victor Creed

      Both

    • Steve

      no video calling does NOT count as data usage.

    • Tyler Peacock

      VoLTE video calling does count as data usage. If you are connected to WiFi, the device will move over to LTE in order to complete the VoLTE video call.

    • tymp1984

      VoLTE video calling does count as data usage. If you are connected to WiFi, the device will move over to LTE in order to complete the VoLTE video call

    • Steve

      what i mean is VOLTE video calling does NOT count as using your data allotment.

  • RambleMan

    I’m curious whether it needs to be a Bell-locked S6. I’ve got an SM-G920F (factory unlocked international S6), but I’m on Bell. My updates come from Samsung, not Bell. I’m also not in any of the trial area codes.