Mobile // Mobile Business
News
8/26/2014
12:41 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Verizon VoLTE, HD Voice Coming Soon

Verizon says its new Voice over LTE service will offer 4G customers better voice quality and instant video chats.

Location Analytics + Maps: 10 Eureka Moments
Location Analytics + Maps: 10 Eureka Moments
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Verizon Wireless today said it will finally launch VoLTE service in the weeks ahead. The offering, based on Big Red's LTE 4G network, will make vast improvements to core services while also adding new ones. Verizon left some key questions unanswered, however, about just how the service will work.

VoLTE, or Voice over LTE, is one of the newest technologies made possible by today's LTE 4G networks. It's been in development for years. After initially planning to launch the service late last year, Verizon delayed the launch several times, indicating several months ago it didn't want to launch VoLTE before it was absolutely sure the service would be robust. It appears Verizon is now sure of the technology.

To access VoLTE, Verizon's smartphone customers will need to update their devices. The update will include Advanced Calling 1.0, the application that powers HD Voice and Video Calling. To connect VoLTE calls, both the caller and the recipient must be on Verizon's LTE network. That means no VoLTE calls from a Verizon phone to an AT&T or T-Mobile phone, at least for now. If one of the Verizon phones wanders out of LTE coverage, the VoLTE call will automatically drop to a standard 3G voice call.

[A plethora of new mobile devices are coming our way. Read Samsung, LG Tease New Hardware.]

In addition to HD Voice Calling, VoLTE will also include Video Calling. According to Verizon, icons will show when others are available for Video Calling. An HD voice call can be converted to a video call with the push of a button, just as video calls can be reverted to HD voice calls. Verizon claims the user interface of the Advanced Calling 1.0 app is simple and user-friendly.

Perhaps the best part of VoLTE service is that it won't cost Verizon customers a penny more than they are already paying: The service is included with 4G contracts at no extra charge. Verizon did point out, however, that VoLTE voice minutes will count towards subscribers' monthly voice service allotment, and video calls will count towards subscribers' data bucket. According to Verizon, video calls consume about 6 MB to 8 MB per minute. Many of Verizon's customers have unlimited voice minutes, but they'll have to keep an eye on their data usage with the Video Calling feature.

(Source: 9to5mac.com)
(Source: 9to5mac.com)

Verizon didn't specify which devices are compatible with the service. Most, if not all, of Verizon's smartphones include LTE 4G, but apparently not all of them have the horsepower to run VoLTE. Expect it to appear first on high-end devices such as the HTC One (M8), LG G3, and Samsung Galaxy S5. Perhaps it will also be available to the iPhone 6, which is expected to launch next month.

The service should be available nationwide, according to Verizon, everywhere its LTE footprint covers. The company said it will launch in the "coming weeks" but didn't give an exact date. (Perhaps Verizon will launch VoLTE with the iPhone 6, which is expected to debut September 9.) InformationWeek will be sure to keep you posted.

After Verizon, T-Mobile has the largest VoLTE offering. T-Mobile's VoLTE is available across its entire LTE footprint, but its LTE coverage is significantly smaller than Verizon's. Further, T-Mobile is offering only HD Voice via VoLTE, not video calling. AT&T also offers VoLTE, but only in a few markets in the Midwest. Sprint has not discussed plans to deploy VoLTE.

In its ninth year, Interop New York (Sept. 29 to Oct. 3) is the premier event for the Northeast IT market. Strongly represented vertical industries include financial services, government, and education. Join more than 5,000 attendees to learn about IT leadership, cloud, collaboration, infrastructure, mobility, risk management and security, and SDN, as well as explore 125 exhibitors' offerings. Register with Discount Code MPIWK to save $200 off Total Access & Conference Passes.

Eric is a freelance writer for InformationWeek specializing in mobile technologies. View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
8/31/2014 | 10:29:13 PM
Re: Verizon's Already the Best... Right?
@jherbert,

Good point. I just don't see it being widespread but for the HD aspect that people really have no understanding of. At least when it comes to voice.
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
8/31/2014 | 10:27:28 PM
Re: Verizon's Already the Best... Right?
@Henrisha,

Marketing-wise... yes.

But from a product development, if it's not something people find value in, you shouldn't do it just to look good compared to competitors. That's how market share gets gobbled up by someone else.
jgherbert
50%
50%
jgherbert,
User Rank: Ninja
8/27/2014 | 10:25:30 PM
Re: Verizon's Already the Best... Right?
HD Voice is another level beyond current call quality for all the providers. I can spend all day on a conference call in Lync, for example, because it supports wideband voice. Spending the same time on a regular phone usually means headaches and tiredness. I'm a huge fan of wideband audio, and getting it on more phones can only be a good thing in my opinion.
Henrisha
50%
50%
Henrisha,
User Rank: Strategist
8/27/2014 | 2:20:01 PM
Re: Verizon's Already the Best... Right?
Well, if you're the best, then why not rub it in to the competition? Lol. That seems to be how many companies operate these days.
pcharles09
50%
50%
pcharles09,
User Rank: Moderator
8/27/2014 | 12:14:06 AM
Verizon's Already the Best... Right?
Isn't Verizon's voice call quality already the best? Why are they trying to rub it in now?
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest September 24, 2014
Start improving branch office support by tapping public and private cloud resources to boost performance, increase worker productivity, and cut costs.
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.