Here’s why the Essential Phone currently doesn’t support Telus VoLTE calling

The carrier says the Essential Phone will support the feature at a later date

Back view of Essential Phone

Late last week, the Essential Phone officially launched in Canada to mostly positive reviews. If you’re someone that bought Andy Rubin’s new phone, you may not have noticed it’s missing a notable feature: VoLTE calling.

Short for Voice over LTE, VoLTE calling is a next-generation calling technology that is quickly becoming something smartphone enthusiasts love to see on their devices.

In a statement issued to MobileSyrup, Telus, the exclusive Canadian carrier of the Essential Phone, says it will update the smartphone to support VoLTE in the future. Telus did not provide MobileSyrup a definitive timeline for when the Essential Phone will support VoLTE calling, but did say that the feature is a “key deliverable” on its roadmap.

When we asked Telus why the Essential Phone did not launch with VoLTE calling, the carrier said both it and Essential decided overall software stability was a greater priority.

“As part of the pre-launch device certification process with Essential, the teams (Telus and Essential) wanted to focus on ensuring a working, stable version,” said a Telus spokesperson. “The commitment from the Essential team was that we would start development work on VoLTE immediately following launch.”

VoLTE calling offers three main benefits to those who can take advantage of it. The most apparent one is that call quality is greatly improved thanks to VoLTE’s use of wide-band audio codecs that bring with them improved dynamic range, which in turn helps make human voices sound more natural.

Second, the time between when the user completes dialing a number and their call is finally connected is significantly shortened, in some cases by several seconds.

Lastly, unlike with previous calling technologies, making a VoLTE call does not drop a smartphone to 3G network speeds.

Besides a compatible device (the carrier’s full list of supported devices can be found on its website), the only other requirements Telus subscribers need to meet in order to take advantage of the company’s VoLTE calling service are that they be on a post-paid plan and have a LTE-capable SIM. Subscribers also need to live in a province where Telus supports the feature. Currently, that includes Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and parts of northern Canada.

Telus launched VoLTE calling in April, 2016.