SRVCC is an LTE functionality that allows a VoIP/IMS call in the LTE packet domain to be moved to a legacy voice domain (GSM/UMTS or CDMA 1x).
Consider a case where a new LTE network operator wants to move voice services to VoIP over IMS in conjunction with the deployment of an LTE access network. In the absence of other options, this operator would need to provide ubiquitous LTE coverage on day 1 to have a competitive VoIP service. However SRVCC enabled LTE may not require complete LTE coverage.
SRVCC provides the ability to transition a voice call from the VoIP/IMS packet domain to the legacy circuit domain. Variations of SRVCC are being standardized to support both GSM/UMTS and CDMA 1x circuit domains. For an operator with a legacy cellular network who wishes to deploy IMS/VoIP-based voice services in conjunction with the rollout of an LTE network, SRVCC offers VoIP subscribers with coverage over a much larger area than would typically be available during the rollout of a new network.
SRVCC functions as follows. As an SRVCC-capable UEe engaged in a voice call determines that it is moving away from LTE coverage, it notifies the LTE network. The LTE network determines that the voice call needs to be moved to the legacy circuit domain. It notifies the MSC server of the need to switch the voice call from the packet to the circuit domain and initiates a handover of the LTE voice bearer to the circuit network. The MSC server establishes a bearer path for the mobile in the legacy network and notifies the IMS core that the mobile’s call leg is moving from the packet to the circuit domain. The circuit-packet function in the IMS core then performs the necessary inter-working functions. When the mobile arrives on-channel in the legacy network, it switches its internal voice processing from VoIP to legacy-circuit voice, and the call continues.
If the legacy circuit network also has an associated packet capability and is capable of supporting concurrent circuit/packet operations, the subscriber’s data sessions can be handed over to the legacy network in conjunction with switching the voice call from the packet to the circuit domain. In this case when the voice call finishes and the mobile re-enters LTE coverage, these packet sessions can be handed back to the LTE.
If operators look to limit LTE deployments to high traffic areas and at the same time wish to transition voice service in those areas to VoIP, then SRVCC is exactly what they need.
If on the other hand operators do not plan to migrate their voice service to VoIP, then SRVCC is not for them. If an operator does plan to migrate to VoIP and also plans to roll out ubiquitous LTE coverage, then the question of whether or not to adopt SRVCC is more complicated. While SRVCC does not require modifications to what is certainly the operator’s largest legacy investment, the RAN, it does require a significant modification of the operator’s legacy core and also requires full deployment of IMS circuit-packet continuity services. Given the cost of these changes, deployment of SRVCC purely as an interim measure to allow early rollout of VoIP-based services may not make financial sense.
Source: Motorola's WhitePaper on "LTE Inter-technology Mobility"