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December 17, 2014

Does Apple VoLTE Make T-Mobile More Compelling?

As someone in the industry, my relationship with my cell phones is one of the most frustrating experiences I have on a daily basis. As a network planner, I can map out the next generation and make the future of your service-quality five “Nines” (9.9999%) or highly available, whichever you believe to be the real standard.

As a phone consumer, I miss my analog phone where the calls dropped all the time but the voice quality was rarely the issue. Lately, I have been suffering from a lot of bad phone calls. Nothing is harder for a wife / partner to believe than that the voice quality of their transmission is garbled.

In my cinderblock home in Florida, I sometimes feel like I’m in the bunker at the Los Alamos National lab, blocking radioactive contamination. My anti-femtocell viewpoints (For the uninitiated: a ‘femtocell’  is a small, low-power cellular base station, typically designed for use in a home or small business) have been somewhat fueled by my attempting to suction-cup antennas on a window and having the femtocell be just as useless as my direct connection.

In my home I have made a point of getting a great Wi-Fi signal throughout the house and technically, the streams are few. So I’ve been thinking about Apple’s implementation of Voice over LTE. Moving voice to packets has been an excruciatingly painful trip for those of us who have spent more than a decade implementing standards. Wireless carriers are proving themselves just as frustrating as their wireline counterparts. Network core implementations that wall the garden make carrier voice different from over the top. And with VoLTE on an iPhone, it’s much the same. Except for T-Mobile.

T-Mobile has migrated through the VoLGA, RCS implementations to adapt and adopt Apple’s VoLTE as an over-the-top service. Now, to me, this is exciting news and something I am looking to try. Talking to other carriers, I get the statement that, yes, they will enable over the top services. However, I get the impression I will be doing a lot of configuring. So, I am going to switch back to T-Mobile with one of my numbers and invite friends to call me to see if they can tell when I am on that phone, with Wi-Fi and without.

If you are ready to experiment with me, feel free to call 239-395-1770.


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