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AT&T Confirms VoLTE Launch in 4 States

Sarah Thomas
5/15/2014
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As expected, AT&T will launch its first voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) markets on May 23. (See AT&T to Gain 4G Voice May 23?)

The carrier confirmed on Thursday that it will introduce high-definition VoLTE in selected areas of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin next week. At launch, the HD VoLTE service will be only enabled on the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, but AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) says more VoLTE-enabled devices are to come.

AT&T marks the third VoLTE announcement this week, and the first launch date confirmed by a Tier 1 operator in the US. Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) said it would turn on its 4G voice service in late June, and Hong Kong's HKT Ltd. also announced its VoLTE launch with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. enabling seamless handover 4G to 3G and between voice and video calls. (See NTT DoCoMo to Launch VoLTE Service.)

Analysts at Heavy Reading have maintained that VoLTE is necessary, valuable, and can expand a mobile network operator's addressable market. On the tail of these three launches, Heavy Reading analyst Gabriel Brown says widespread deployment of VoLTE now looks certain in advanced markets.

"Virtually all mobile operators with a sizeable LTE access network have now decided to deploy an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based core, and Heavy Reading expects a number of commercial services launches in 2014, especially by large, progressive mobile broadband operators, with more to follow in 2015," he tells Light Reading.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/27/2014 | 1:39:17 PM
Testing VoLTE in Chicago

Daniel Berninger, Founder, Voice Communication Exchange Committee, tested out AT&T's VoLTE on the Samsung S4 Mini here in Chicago. Check out his trial here: http://vcxc.org/atthdvoice.html

The difference between HD and SD is pretty remarkable!

sarahthomas1011
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sarahthomas1011,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/27/2014 | 9:53:42 AM
Re: Samsung
Nope, it just works on its 3G network now. Sprint is working on VoLTE, but hasn't given a timeline for when it will deploy it yet. Hopefully we'll hear more from it soon, since the other three have all made their initial announcements.
hlim431
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hlim431,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/25/2014 | 3:06:21 PM
Re: Samsung
Sarah do you know if Sprint HD Voice is VOLTE or a SIP Softphone implementation like perhaps Counterpath's BRIA?  In UK, the likes of O2 and Vodafone DARE block softphones but they don't dare block my beloved FaceTime... except I don't think FaceTime has implemented voice cancellation like Sprint HD Voice.
lanbrown
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lanbrown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/20/2014 | 8:55:56 PM
Re: VoLTE will beget Wi-Fi offload
QoS already exists on WLAN.  The issue is, the LWAP/WLC can control how it gets sent, but not how it receives it.  Since WLAN is half-duplex and shared, not much can be done about it.  Many vendors say to use a dedicated SSID for wireless voice with some suggesting to use the other band to support WLAN voice.

 

Even if you fix the QoS on WLAN, who says that the network interconnect supports it?  If it is going over the Internet, no QoS.  So use your home Wi-Fi and you could have worse call quality if the pipe is congested.  Net neutrality states the traffic cannot be protected.

 

WLAN also would have NAT and some applications do not care for it.  So a seamless switch between the two may not be all that easy to implement.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/17/2014 | 4:40:29 PM
Re: VoLTE, HD voice
Gabriel Brown - Intriguing. Now that I think of it, you're right -- I instinctively pause a moment after making a call and wait for the audio signals that indicate the call has gone through. Without those signals -- which are subtle -- we're likely to be on the line breathing at each other until one person hears the other say something that indicates the call has already started. 
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/17/2014 | 4:36:34 PM
Re: VoLTE, HD voice
Reminds me of the time I watched my then-eight-year-old niece struggle to use her grandparents' rotary phone. She was all where are the buttons?

 
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/17/2014 | 4:31:26 PM
Re: VoLTE, HD voice
Queen of Awkward Silences. You should have that on your business cards. 

My business cards should read: "Needs To Understand That Sometimes We Shouldn't Say Everything We're Thinking."
jhodgesk1s
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jhodgesk1s,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/16/2014 | 6:13:00 PM
Re: VoLTE, HD voice
Agree with wanlord, this can easily be resolved by setting changes. It could also even happen in the legacy SS7 world where the most noticable outcome was "ring clipping."
wanlord
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wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/16/2014 | 1:29:47 PM
Re: VoLTE, HD voice
Yes, but that can be fixed with a delay at the application level. The concern with latency is not the call set up as much as the two way voice.
Ed Elkin
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Ed Elkin,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/16/2014 | 12:09:32 PM
Re: VoLTE, HD voice
Hmmm, for the younger generation, mobile voice would be:
  • New, different
  • Ephermal
  • Parents couldn't friend them or learn what's been said
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