Say hello to VoLTE calling
 

VoLTE, or voice over (LTE is the technical name for 4G), is the next evolution of mobile calling that uses the 4G network for traditional voice calls. For the past decade, voice calls have been primarily carried out over the 3G network. So, while you may have a 4G capable phone, your device may still fall back to 3G when you make or receive a call unless it's also capable of VoLTE. 

Rural Connectivity Group (RCG)

The Rural Connectivity Group (RCG), a joint venture between Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees is building more than 400 mobile towers to provide fixed wireless home broadband connectivity in rural areas. This is part of the second phase of the Rural Broadband Initiative (RBI2).  With this comes new 4G-only mobile coverage in these areas which customers can use whilst on the go.

Because the purpose of this fund is predominantly to connect rural addresses that previously had no internet at home, most of this new coverage is 4G-only. This allows customers to get set up with wireless broadband. 3G is unavailable in many of these areas, which means that since voice calls have historically worked over the 3G network, some mobile phones will not be able to make traditional voice calls whilst connected to the new RCG towers. Most 4G capable phones however, can use data and SMS in these areas and will have service bars at the top of the screen, so apps such as WhatsApp and Skype can be used to make calls over data. 3G only phones will not be able to use this new coverage. 

Some RCG sites do provide 3G coverage - these are usually on main highways or accident blackspots to provide mobile coverage for safety purposes. 

Spark VoLTE capable phones 

Over the past two years, mobile network operators (MNOs) have been working with manufacturers to enable VoLTE on as many mobile devices as possible, including existing models. For each MNO, this process involves working with manufacturers of each type of device to test VoLTE on their network before it can be enabled for the customer.

To find out if your device is VoLTE capable on the Spark network, please see ‘Is my device VoLTE capable?’ This is located in the FAQ section below.

 

Frequently asked questions

Here’s a bit of information to help you understand the ins and outs of VoLTE calling, and what it means for you. 

VoLTE calling is available wherever our 4G service is available. Check out where Spark has 4G coverage: See the Spark coverage map

*Our coverage maps are updated on a quarterly basis so may not reflect new coverage. We're working on a process to make these updates more frequent. 

Here’s how you can see if you're making a call with VoLTE – be sure to turn off WiFi on your mobile first. 

  • Apple: For iPhone 6s and later, you’ll see “4G” in the status bar (top of your screen) when using VoLTE. 
  • Samsung: You'll see a small VoLTE icon in the status bar. While making a call you'll also see a small 'HD' icon on the screen. 
  • Huawei: You may see "HD" when the call is connected or has gone to voicemail and you won't see any icons while it's ringing. Otherwise, you’ll see a small VoLTE icon in the status bar. You should also see VoLTE written on the green dialer button when you make a call. 
  • OPPO: You'll see "VoLTE" in the status bar if you've turned on VoLTE.
  • Nokia: You'll see "VoLTE" near the status bar when you pull down the notifications menu

To use VoLTE on the Spark network, you must have three things: 

  1. A VoLTE capable device - see list of VoLTE capable devices below
  2. VoLTE provisioned on your account - Spark may automatically provision VoLTE on your account, for example if we detect you are in RCG coverage (see ‘How do I know if I’m using VoLTE?’ FAQ) 
  3. VoLTE activated on the device -  see ‘How do I activate VoLTE on my phone?’ Check you have the latest software update on your phone before doing this. (Data charges apply to software updates installed using data, so we recommend downloading software updates over WiFi.) 

VoLTE capable phones on the Spark network

You may be eligible for VoLTE calling if you have one of the following phones:

 

iPhone
Samsung
  • iPhone 6s

  • iPhone 6s Plus

  • iPhone SE

  • iPhone SE (2nd Generation)

  • iPhone 7

  • iPhone 7 Plus

  • iPhone 8

  • iPhone 8 Plus

  • iPhone X

  • iPhone XS

  • iPhone XS Max

  • iPhone XR

  • iPhone 11

  • iPhone 11 Pro 

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max

  • iPhone 12

  • iPhone 12 Mini

  • iPhone 12 Pro

  • iPhone 12 Pro Max

  • Samsung Galaxy A01 Core

  • Samsung Galaxy A10*

  • Samsung Galaxy A11*

  • Samsung Galaxy A21s*

  • Samsung Galaxy A30*

  • Samsung Galaxy A31*

  • Samsung Galaxy A50*

  • Samsung Galaxy A51*

  • Samsung Galaxy A70*

  • Samsung Galaxy A71 5G*

  • Samsung Galaxy A80*

  • Samsung Galaxy J4*

  • Samsung Galaxy J6+*

  • Samsung Galaxy S9*

  • Samsung Galaxy S9+*

  • Samsung Galaxy S10e*

  • Samsung Galaxy S10*

  • Samsung Galaxy S10+*

  • Samsung Galaxy Note9*

  • Samsung Galaxy Note10*

  • Samsung Galaxy Note10+*

  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S20*

  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G*

  • Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G*

  • Samsung Galaxy S20FE

  • Samsung Galaxy J6*

  • Samsung Galaxy Xcover 4s*

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip*

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy A02s

  • Samsung Galaxy A12

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

Nokia
Huawei
  • Nokia 3.4

  • Nokia 7.1

  • Huawei nova 5T

  • Huawei Mate 20 Pro

  • Huawei P30

  • Huawei P30 Pro

  • Huawei P40 Pro

OPPO
Bullitt (CAT)
  • OPPO A5

  • OPPO Reno4 Pro 5G

  • OPPO Find X2 Pro

  • OPPO Find X2 Lite

  • OPPO X3 Lite 5G

  • OPPO X3 Pro 5G

  • S62 Pro

* The device must be on Android 10 or later.

 

Things to know

The following phones (Samsung and OPPO) may also be eligible if they're sourced from Spark: 

  • Samsung Galaxy A8
  • Samsung Galaxy A8+
  •  Samsung Galaxy J3 Pro 
  • Samsung Galaxy J4+
  • Samsung Galaxy J5 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy J7 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy Note8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8
  • Samsung Galaxy S8+
  • OPPO A9 2020
  •  OPPO Reno2

Eligibility

  • Broadsoft including IP Centrex and Mobile Office users can't use VoLTE at this time. 
  • If the phone is purchased from overseas it may not support VoLTE on our network. Please see the ‘What if I purchased my VoLTE capable phone overseas?’ FAQ.

Browse Spark's mobile phone gallery 

To use VoLTE on the Spark network, you must have three things. 

  1. A VoLTE capable device (see Is my VoLTE capable? FAQ). 
  2. VoLTE provisioned on your account (see step 4 below).
  3. VoLTE activated on the device -  see step 3 below. 

On most devices that support VoLTE it's enabled by default, however, in some cases you’ll need to manually enable it using the steps below:  

  1. Make sure you're on the Spark mobile network. 

  2. Check that you're using the latest software on your phone. Data charges apply to software updates installed using data. So, we recommend downloading software updates over WiFi
    • Apple iPhone: Settings > General > About Device > Software Update.
    • Huawei: Settings > System > Software Update > Check for Updates.
    • Nokia: Settings > System > Advanced > System Update.
    • OPPO: Settings > Software Updates.
    • Samsung: Settings > Software Update > Download and install.

  3. Switch VoLTE on in your phone settings. 
    • iPhone: (eligible iPhones that have iOS 14 installed will have VoLTE Calling on by default).
    • Samsung: Tap Settings > Connections > Mobile networks. Toggle VoLTE calls.
    • Huawei: Tap Settings > Wireless & Networks > Mobile Network. Toggle VoLTE calls.
    • OPPO: Tap Settings > Dual SIM (or ‘SIM card and mobile data on single SIM models) & Cellular Network. Choose SIM 1 or SIM 2 (just SIM on single SIM phones). Toggle VoLTE calls.
    • Nokia: Tap Settings > Network & Internet > Mobile Network > Advanced. Toggle Enhanced 4G LTE Mode.

  4. If VoLTE still isn't working after trying the above, you may need to contact Spark to request VoLTE be provisioned on your account. 

Note: Some of the above instructions may differ slightly for each model. If you're having trouble, please look under mobile settings in your settings menu. If you'd like to disable VoLTE calling for any reason, please reverse the steps above. 

If your phone doesn’t support VoLTE but is 4G capable, you will see service bars at the top of your phone and be able to use data and text. However,  you won't be able to make traditional voice calls in areas where there's no 3G available, including to emergency services. Spark 3G is widely available across New Zealand, however some rural areas have 4G-only coverage.  

If the device hasn't been tested in New Zealand, Spark can’t guarantee that VoLTE will work correctly on your phone. The manufacturer may have disabled VoLTE when the phone is not in the country it was purchased from. If you want to try enabling VoLTE, please contact Spark to provision the phone and we will advise you on some simple tests you should try. 

VoLTE calls don’t use data and are charged either per minute or as part of your plan the same way as traditional voice calls. If data is switched off on your phone, you can still make and receive VoLTE calls.

Yes, you can call anyone using VoLTE, including your friends and family that are on 3G Voice or other networks. 

Yes, you can continue to make three-way conference calls if you’re on a Pay Monthly plan. You can't make three-way calls if you’re on a Prepaid plan.

For a true high definition VoLTE calling experience, both the caller and the receiver must be using VoLTE enabled devices. 

Yes, activating VoLTE has no additional cost for Spark mobile customers. Voice, text and data usage will still incur charges on your mobile plan as usual. 

Spark is continuing to operate its 3G network in most parts of the country, however some rural areas have 4G-only.  

Yes, emergency calling on a VoLTE capable device is supported when in coverage. Your call will be carried over the best available network at the time to the emergency services operators. If your phone is not VoLTE capable and compatible and you are in a 4G-only coverage area, you won't be able to use it to phone emergency services.  

Service bars at the top of your screen reflect the strength of the mobile coverage available to you. If you’re in a 4G-only coverage area and aren’t able to make or receive a call, it’s likely that you don’t have VoLTE functioning on your device despite being able to see service bars. If your phone is 4G capable, you’ll be able to use data and send and receive texts without VoLTE. Note: Not all 4G capable phones are also VoLTE capable. 

If you're connected to a 4G only RCG tower and someone calls you the network will instruct your phone to drop to 3G for the call (this is known as 3G or circuit-switched fallback). Your phone should continue to make and receive calls in locations where it worked prior to the RCG site being activated. 

The RCG programme is predominantly focused on connecting rural addresses that previously had no option for getting the internet at home. The new cell towers are strategically built to reach these addresses and provide new coverage that allows those in rural areas to connect to wireless home broadband. Wireless broadband uses the 4G network, therefore most RCG sites are 4G-only. With this comes new  4G  mobile coverage in these areas which customers can use whilst on the go, and while this is a great benefit, it's not the aim of the programme.  

If your phone is listed under ‘Is my device VoLTE capable?’ but you are still unable to make or receive voice calls, one of the following may be true for you:  

  • VoLTE is not enabled on your handset or you need to update your device software.
  • VoLTE has not been provisioned on your mobile account by Spark.
  • If your phone is not from Spark, or you purchased it overseas, your phone may not work with VoLTE on Spark’s network – if you want to try enabling VoLTE, contact us and we will advise you on some simple tests you should try. You have no coverage where you are.