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AT&T Hears Call of VoLTE in 2014

Dan Jones
1/6/2014
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LAS VEGAS -- 2014 AT&T Developer Summit -- Delivering voice over LTE (VoLTE) is a big project for AT&T as it looks into 2014.

Several executives at the annual developers' conference talked about AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s work with 4G VoLTE voice services. "We're in the final stages of our VoLTE testing," Kris Rinne, senior vice president of network technology at AT&T Labs, told us at the event Monday.

She said that AT&T will include a high-definition voice service as part of its VoLTE launch. Rinne didn't say exactly when the service will launch this year, but the operator is starting to introduce devices that can support such services. (See AT&T Amplifies Its 4G Voice.)

Earlier at the developer summit keynote, AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega unveiled the AsusTek Computer Inc. Padfone X, a smartphone that he said will support HD voice and LTE-Advanced.

Talkin' HD
Asus CEO Jerry Chen and AT&T's de la Vega chat up the Padfone X.
Asus CEO Jerry Chen and AT&T's de la Vega chat up the Padfone X.

It appears that AT&T will reveal the initial launch cities for VoLTE soon, too. "Early this year, we're going to announce markets" for both VoLTE and HD voice, John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T technology and network operations, said in Vegas Monday at the Citi Conference.

AT&T is not the only major US carrier mulling a VoLTE service. VoLTE-complaint devices have recently been spotted on the Verizon Wireless network. (See Verizon VoLTE Testing Spotted, Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014, and VoLTE Needs Passing Grade From Operator Tests.)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
1/7/2014 | 5:28:14 PM
Re: 4G Voice
To be fair, they were more specific than Verizon was when I asked last!
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
1/7/2014 | 9:28:41 AM
Re: 4G Voice
They've both been talking about it for a good while. I think AT&T may be first out the gate, which is surprising given Verizon's huge headstart, but also maybe understandable given that it is coming from GSM not CDMA and has a network to fall back to if it doesn't work well.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
1/7/2014 | 9:27:32 AM
Re: 4G Voice
I've heard one carrier -- AT&T or Verizon -- will start with just 3G voice parity and the other will launch full RCS right away. My guess is AT&T starts with full RCS, not Verizon since it doesn't have fall back, but neither has said yet. http://www.lightreading.com/shades-of-volte/a/d-id/703448
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
1/7/2014 | 3:17:13 AM
Re: 4G Voice
Asus Padfone X is clearly one of the first devices.
^ip4g^
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^ip4g^,
User Rank: Lightning
1/7/2014 | 1:46:46 AM
Re: 4G Voice
and with what device and client.. will it be complete VoLTE for all services or use only VoLTE for voice and video calling with RCS for other enriched services ?
DOShea
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DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
1/6/2014 | 10:08:49 PM
Re: 4G Voice
Not many specifics from AT&T. Do you think AT&T was more eager to talk about VoLTE after it recently became apparent Verizon is moving ahead with its plans?
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
User Rank: Blogger
1/6/2014 | 8:10:52 PM
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