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VoLTE will enable higher quality, "HD Voice" calls

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is making its way to U.S. carriers, and Verizon Wireless has announced plans to launch the service during the fourth quarter of 2014 according to Fran Shammo, Chief Financial Officer for Verizon Communications.
Voice calls will be routed through Verizon’s existing LTE network, with a fallback to 3G in the absence of LTE availability. With its LTE network nearly complete in the U.S., Verizon Wireless is confident that its service to consumers won’t buckle under the pressure of handling both VoLTE calls and LTE data.
"For us, when we launch a new technology, we have to make sure our quality is strong because the CDMA network was so strong," said Shammo at an investor conference this week. "We don't go before we know it's ready."
According to Fierce Wireless, 55 percent of Verizon Wireless’ customers have LTE devices, but those customers account for 79 percent of all data traffic on its network.
The move to VoLTE not only brings with it higher quality “HD Voice” calls, but it will also allow Verizon Wireless to completely abandon its 3G CDMA network in the future. Handsets would likely also be cheaper for manufacturers to produce if they don’t have to worry about supporting legacy CDMA functionality.
However, we still have a ways to go before you have to worry about your smartphone becoming incompatible with Verizon Wireless’ network. The company doesn’t plan to introduce its first LTE-only phones until 1H 2016, and it will be longer still before its 3G CDMA network is shuttered for good.
In the mean time, new smartphones that support VoLTE (while still having 3G CDMA fallback) will be introduced over the coming months, and existing smartphones [with VoLTE hardware support] will receive software updates to enable the feature. But even with network, hardware, and software support, placing or receiving a VoLTE call whenever you want isn’t guaranteed [at least until the wireless carrier goes LTE-only]. Verizon Wireless wrote earlier this year:
For a customer to make or receive a VoLTE call, both parties must have VoLTE-enabled devices and be in an area where VoLTE is available.  
Verizon Wireless currently has 42 million customers that are using 3G-only smartphones, and they will all have to upgrade to VoLTE capable phones in the coming years if they want to continue to receive voice/data service.

Source: Fierce Wireless

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I'm sure
By FITCamaro on 8/12/2014 12:33:24 PM , Rating: 2
We'll get comments that this is out of greed or something to push people onto smart phones. That they shouldn't be allowed to phase out 3G CDMA phones.

Because businesses should be forced to sell a product or service that they no longer want to....

RE: I'm sure
By corduroygt on 8/12/2014 12:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
As long as they have CDMA towers that don't have LTE, they should not phase it out. But once every tower is converted, there is no need for it.

RE: I'm sure
By SigmundEXactos on 8/12/2014 12:48:18 PM , Rating: 2
Except that you can easily build a dumb phone with VoLTE -- nothing's stopping you.

LTE-only is the natural progression to the network technology upgrades in the past few years, and the lessons learned from the various GSM/CDMA/EVDO/UTMS/HSDPA upgrade/interoperability shenanigans, especially for Verizon/Sprint where CDMA/EVDO and LTE were not at all compatible.

RE: I'm sure
By ritualm on 8/13/2014 4:53:57 PM , Rating: 2
Except the state of LTE is such that you need lots of different amplifiers to cover every disparate band. Very few devices come with such compatibility for every LTE band in the world, and most of them are tablets.

Walk out of the frying pan, only to walk into a fryer.

RE: I'm sure
By amanojaku on 8/12/2014 1:18:58 PM , Rating: 3
I hope not. The article DOES point out that CMDA phone sales will cease long before CDMA tower service ends. Additionally, 55% of Verizon Wireless customers already own LTE phones, so phasing out CDMA phone sales is only natural. And it may make phones cheaper, smaller, more power efficient, blah, blah, since the CDMA chip will be left out. Other than tried-and-true reliability, there is no benefit to CDMA. No one should want it any more.

RE: I'm sure
By tayb on 8/12/2014 1:33:59 PM , Rating: 2
Verizon has accepted billions in tax breaks and subsidies to build out their networks. As far as I am concerned they can either return that money or do as the American public pleases.

RE: I'm sure
By GlobleWarmingisbunk on 8/12/2014 6:29:30 PM , Rating: 1
Verizon has accepted billions in tax breaks... As far as I am concerned they can either return that money or do as the American public pleases.

You do realize that a tax brake is not money from the government, all a tax brake does is let the company keep more of its own money. So Verizon does not owe the government, or the American People anything. If you don't like what they are doing than don't use Verizon.

RE: I'm sure
By Zak on 8/13/2014 8:04:10 AM , Rating: 3
I don't know what "tax brake" is but "tax break" is money that would have been paid to the govt in taxes, i.e. missed tax revenue for the govt and the public, so yeah same thing. I'm sure you realized that, but just wanted to be obtuse for no apparent reason.

RE: I'm sure
By tayb on 8/13/2014 9:01:47 AM , Rating: 2
There is no difference between the two things you are describing. Verizon owed the US government billions in taxes and the US government said "build out a fiber network and you can keep that money." Verizon kept the money and then didn't build out the fiber network.

As far as I am concerned Verizon should either pay those taxes, deliver the networks as promised, or forfeit control of the corporation over to the American public. Pick one.

RE: I'm sure
By GeekWithFire on 8/13/2014 9:33:10 AM , Rating: 2
While I'm sure you and I will continue to disagree on who actually owns the money in this situation (I personally believe it is the organization who actually built something...yes, they did build that.), a tax break is a business transaction. If the US government didn't have any stipulations preventing Verizon from making this business decision, they are not entitled to anything. This process is how every other business entity in the free market operations. Why should the US government operate any differently?

RE: I'm sure
By DanNeely on 8/12/2014 1:42:50 PM , Rating: 2
They're not allowed to turn off your current phones voice service without giving you a free replacement that doesn't affect your contract status in any way.

Since VZW has, IIRC committed to keeping its 2/3g networks online until 2021; it's a tossup if they'll be able to give holdouts a VoLTE flipphone or have to give a bottom end smartphone with data disabled (or billed at the insanely high prices they set 10 years ago when typical phone webpage was only 5 or 10k of data).

RE: I'm sure
By Flunk on 8/12/2014 4:12:55 PM , Rating: 2
It will be a long time, my father (and plenty of other older people) is still using a GSM handset (2G). His cell provider just phased out analog service last year.

RE: I'm sure
By DanNeely on 8/12/2014 4:51:33 PM , Rating: 2
Where does your father live, and who is his carrier. The major (all?) US carriers turned off analog around a decade ago. IIRC most other carriers globally did the same around then.

RE: I'm sure
By Omega215D on 8/13/2014 10:18:05 AM , Rating: 2
Verizon turned off analog aruond 2007/ 2008. At the time I had an Audiovox CDM-8900 which was a tri-band phone. I remember having it switch to analog a couple of times while riding out in rural areas in the northeast US.

There were still some hold outs in turning off the analog, some of which were roaming partners with Verizon back in the day. I think 2009 was the last time I heard of it.

RE: I'm sure
By Lord 666 on 8/12/2014 7:14:12 PM , Rating: 2
There are commercial fire alarms that have IP and 4g connectivity versus POTS lines for polling/alarms. When the 4g is too congested and/or the signal strength is too weak, it dials it down to 3g.

Well... that would be a huge disservice to public health and safety unless Verizon is retrofitting customers alarms or some other mechanism.

RE: I'm sure
By Cheesew1z69 on 8/12/2014 9:20:13 PM , Rating: 2
Well... that would be a huge disservice to public health and safety unless Verizon is retrofitting customers alarms or some other mechanism.
Unless Verizon provides those, it's not their obligation to change or retrofit anything.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive
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