VoLTE Coming to Verizon Wireless in Q4 2014, LTE-Only Phones Will Arrive 1H 2016
August 12, 2014 12:11 PM
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.
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