The combined MetroPCS Inc. and T-Mobile USA might abandon MetroPCS's plans to support voice over LTE (VoLTE), according to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing Tuesday.
The filing, a PowerPoint presentation by T-Mobile CTO Neville Ray, seems to indicate that VoLTE handset users would be migrated to plain old LTE handsets.
MetroPCS was the first U.S. carrier to launch VoLTE. Most other operators worldwide are putting off the technology until 2013 or later.
MetroPCS representatives did not respond to a call for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Why this matters
Quick VoLTE deployment could be a way for operators to deflect interest in over-the-top voice and messaging applications, but it's apparenlty not going to happen in the United States. Verizon Wireless revealed on Tuesday that VoLTE would arrive on its network late in 2013. (See MobileCON 2012: Verizon Beats 2012 4G Target.)
It's not as if VoLTE has been roundly defeated. MetroPCS has only 744,000 subscribers, and only high-end users were expected to use VoLTE. But for anyone rooting for the technology, it's an unpleasant surprise.
Count Acme Packet Inc. shareholders in that group. The company, which sells session border controllers could be used in VoLTE deployments, were down $1.31 (7.3 percent) at $16.68 on Tuesday.
"We believe investors had been optimistic that the T-Mobile-PCS merger may have been a catalyst to accelerate commercial VoLTE deployment," wrote analyst Joanna Makris of Mizuho in a note published Tuesday.
â€” Craig Matsumoto, Managing Editor, Light Reading