The anticipated near-finalization of the LTE standard is nearing its end as the unveiling of Voice over Long Term Evolution took place in Barcelona this month during the Mobile World Congress with demos that piqued the interest of the crowd. This new improved way of quality mobile communication has already been bestowed with its abbreviation that would soon surpass VoIP: VoLTE. This coming change will move wireless carriers off of 3G networks for voice in the future. The LTE network, aside from having more than enough speed to process and transfer data faster, has a lower latency that results in long distance calls that have better quality.
Verizon Wireless, a US carrier that will roll out VoLTE on its network in 2012, had two setups demoed during the summit, the first an LG Revolution and the second a Samsung phone. According to some of the spectators, the quality of the demonstrated calls was an improvement over the prevailing mobile networks, and the LG phone had a codec that improves the quality by using more bandwidth. Its ability to handle video calls has it placed below Apple, but way above the ability of Android. Verizon has already begun the promotion of VoLTE as the “better” alternative to the existing 3G networks. Unsurprisingly, it has also been the most vocal for the need of VoLTE in its LTE network, as with the existing problem with its CDMA network and iPhone not being able to talk and surf at the same time.
MetroPCS has now allowed its customers with handsets that are capable of handling VoIP services to be able to do so with its LTE network. It reasoned that its CDMA network did not have the speed to be able to support VoIP. Although with this is the rising issue that the company is charging higher rates from video streaming sites other than YouTube, blocking certain websites, and completely preventing access to Skype. The complaints by customers talk about the FCC rules which bar the blocking of online services that offer voice and video communication that competes with the carrier’s versions, however an FCC representative notes that the current rules are not yet effective.
Part of the seven-year road map of AT&T includes the VoLTE to better its voice services, setting a date of around mid-year of 2013 for its release. When they complete the work, AT&T plans to shut down older platforms like the one used as a transition between analog and digital networks. AT&T has a target of the end of 2013 to cover its entire 3G network with 4G and release its first LTE-only smart phones with VoLTE-only calling features.
There is a lot of activity around the move to LTE and the inclusion of Voice over LTE as part of the move to 4G. When this is completed customers will get the benefit of better performance and call quality.