LTE Standard For Voice, SMS Approved

Major wireless carriers and handset makers reach agreement on the technical profile of voice and SMS services over Long-Term Evolution networks.
In a move likely to spur the rollout of Long Term Evolution, a group of carriers, infrastructure suppliers, and device makers has agreed on a standard for the introduction and delivery of voice and SMS services over LTE networks.

Called the One Voice initiative, the technical profile standard has defined an optimal set of existing 3GPP-specified functionalities that can serve as a standard for mobile service providers, network vendors and handset makers.

The firms agreeing to the standard include many if not most of the world's leaders in the emerging LTE universe. They are: AT&T, Orange, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Verizon, Vodafone, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nokia, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. and Sony Ericsson.

Conspicuous by their absence among U.S. carriers are Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile. Sprint is making its major broadband wireless drive with WiMax and its partnership with Clearwire while T-Mobile, a unit of Deutsche Telekom, has supported an alternate LTE voice approach called Voice over LTE via Generic Access (VolGA).

In a release the One Voice group said its standard would help in guaranteeing international roaming and interoperability for both LTE voice and SMS services for consumers. One Voice added that the approach will smooth the way to service convergence.

"Open collaborative discussions," One Voice said in a release, "have concluded that the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) based solution as defined by 3GPP, is the most applicable approach to meeting the consumers' expectations." The standard will help move existing circuit-switched telephony services to IP-based LTE services.

The One Voice initiative appears to solve the problem of how to deal with voice and packet-based 4G LTE, which hasn't supported existing circuit-switched traffic. The LTE delivery of data is already in the works in the U.S., for instance, as Verizon Wireless is planning to rollout out its LTE network next year with data cards. With the One Voice announcement Wednesday, voice and SMS delivery also appears to be assured.

Verizon Wireless, and its Vodafone partner, are planning to rollout LTE service commercially next year in the U.S. Two trial tests " in Boston and Seattle " are scheduled to get underway later this year.

One Voice said the initial profile solution for voice and SMS services has been completed and is available through all of the firms named above.

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