Vodafone has posted an intriguing blog where it claims that making the switch to 4G calling technology will help save your phone battery by using less power.
4G is also known as “LTE” technology – which is why the voice over 4G technology is sometimes known as “VoLTE” – and Vodafone is testing the technology with its employees in Newbury and London. Essentially, what makes the difference is that using VoLTE rather than your phone use the voice network that has existed for several decades, it will use the data network to connect the call instead.
The technological difference is pretty interesting. 3G and 2G both handle voice calls in the same old way, using what is called “circuit switching” – essentially working the same way phones have since their inception, where a continuous connection (imagine one long wire) must be created to carry the call between participants. Meanwhile 4G exclusively uses “packet switching” – the same technology that computer networks use, sending the signal broken up into “packets” that can traverse any available route across the network to its destination (before being reassembled at the other end) – which is much more efficient. Because of this “spectral efficiency” more data can be transmitted in less time, using your phone’s wireless radios (the bits that connect to the phone network) less, drawing less power from the battery.
Essentially, because 4G is a newer technology, it was designed with battery efficiency in mind – it will drain your phone much slower than 3G.
Another plus side of this approach is that the sound quality on 4G-to-4G calls should also get much better as higher quality audio can be carried.
We’re not sure when Vodafone plan to roll out the technology nationally, but here’s hoping it and the other networks do soon, for the sake of everyone’s collective battery anxiety.