Test shows Voice over LTE calls consuming much more battery power than CDMA calls

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: November 29, 2012

Metrico Wireless VoLTE CDMA battery stufy

MetroPCS earlier this year launched its Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service and first VoLTE-capable smartphone, and while Metro is the only U.S. carrier currently offering VoLTE service, both AT&T and Verizon have said that they plan to roll it out in the future. As with any new type of cellular service, some folks are likely wondering how VoLTE will affect a device's battery life, especially considering how LTE data managed to demolish the battery life of the initial wave of LTE-capable smartphones. That's what Metrico Wireless set out to learn with a recent study comparing the battery consumption voice calls using regular ol' CDMA versus VoLTE.

Metrico's tests took place on a VoLTE network in two cities, and while details like the carrier and device used in the test aren't given, GigaOM notes that it's likely an LG Connect 4G on MetroPCS since Metro has an active VoLTE network and the test device's battery size lines up with the Connect's. So how did VoLTE perform? After measuring the average power drained during some 10-minute 2G CDMA and VoLTE calls, Metrico estimates that the phone's battery could stay alive for 502.6 minutes of CDMA talk time, but only 251.8 minutes of VoLTE talk time.

Amit Malhotra, Global Director of Insights for Spirent (which owns Metrico), explained VoLTE's increased power consumption by pointing to things like the fact that existing voice tech has had plenty of time to become optimized for efficiency. There's likely a mixture of emotions about VoLTE out there, with some heavy talkers that'll be excited about the improved voice quality, while people that don't often use their phone as a phone will be indifferent. What will be interesting is seeing how VoLTE performs once AT&T and Verizon launch it, which may not happen until late 2013 or sometime in 2014, and how much more efficient it is at that point. Are you looking forward to trying VoLTE service?

Via The Verge, GigaOM