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August 22, 2014

U.S. Telecom May Launch VoLTE Nationally Next Year

Data is beginning to take over the global market of wireless devices. Telecoms are slowly beginning the switch from voice calls over wireless networks to voice calls over data networks—the prominent technology known as voice over LTE (VoLTE)—and they will undoubtedly begin to see an increase in the capability and clarity of these calls as a result of the switch.

In line with previous announcements from other major U.S. telecoms, Verizon said this week that it will soon get on board the VoLTE train by rolling out the technology on its networks come the beginning of next year. Die-hard fans of the newest tech will have to wait until 2016 to get their hands on LTE-only phones, but the entire Verizon network may soon support calls through data on handsets already capable of completing the task.

Further analysis of the issue comes courtesy of Forbes.

"Considering that 3G services are almost ubiquitous in the country and LTE is quickly gaining traction, the adoption of VoLTE seems to be the natural and logical choice for carriers in their shift towards data. T-Mobile was the first to launch the service in select markets in May and was quickly followed by AT&T."

TMC also covered the announcements from T-Mobile and AT&T back in May. Both companies reportedly said they would be starting VoLTE services in select markets in the coming months and years. It is that distinction of "select markets" that makes the Verizon announcement here somewhat different from that of its competition.

Forbes confirms that AT&T and T-Mobile may only begin their rollouts of the data technology regionally whereas analysts expect Verizon to launch its service nationwide. This could help it compete against the other major providers by offering something they do not. Verizon has tried to recover from significant problems with capacity on its mobile network as of late, and it has branded that recovery XLTE. This extension of the main Verizon brand will likely be tied to the rollout of VoLTE, and since the XLTE is a national campaign, VoLTE, by extension, is also likely to extend nationally.

Verizon also stepped up its game early this year by introducing the "Share Everything" and "More Everything" data plans. In order to compete directly with AT&T, Forbes reports, Verizon dropped its prices for adding an additional line to its 10GB service plan. That effectively dropped services costs from $180 to $160 for a family of four on that plan. The most recent announcement concerning VoLTE did not specifically mention costs. Early adopters can take heart, though, that VoLTE-related packet headers are smaller than unoptimized VoIP and LTE calls, so calls made through the new data service should not consume as much bandwidth as current-generation data calling methods.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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