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AT&T to Gain 4G Voice May 23?

Sarah Thomas
5/1/2014
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AT&T is reportedly gearing up to launch voice over LTE (VoLTE) by the end of the month, beating LTE first mover Verizon Wireless to the punch.

Sources tell Engadget that AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) will launch VoLTE, the 4G voice service, in Chicago and Minneapolis on May 23. (See VoLTE: So Close You Can Hear It.)

There have been a number of delays and false starts for VoLTE as the operators have worked to make sure it will be on par with 3G voice, but all the big four are planning service this year. AT&T has said that its VoLTE will include high-definition voice at launch, but it hasn't confirmed whether features like video and group chat will be enabled over the IP network. (See WhatsApp Threatens Carrier VoLTE, Verizon VoLTE Testing Spotted, AT&T Amplifies Its 4G Voice, and Sprint Taps BroadSoft for VoLTE Transition.)

The Asus Padfone X is among the first smartphones that will be compatible with VoLTE, so others will likely have to wait to take advantage of the crisper calling feature. AT&T hasn't confirmed launch details or the vendors working with it to deploy VoLTE. (See AT&T's VoLTE Phones Start Trickling Out and AT&T Hears Call of VoLTE in 2014.)

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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jabailo
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jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/2/2014 | 1:36:51 PM
Re: What is telco any more?
And have to assume that any place that is merely 3G these days, will soon be 4G and then maybe broadband 5G (Sprint Spark, 120Mpbs) style.   So were does that even leave people who sell "wires" to your home...they would see to be at a competitive disadvantage of having to lay, manage and maintain a lot more physical hardware than a company with one tower serving hundreds of people.  Yes they do have faster speeds, but I've read about 1Gpbs wireless broadband as well.


So then, all I need is my 5G connection and I am now accessible at all times for voice and video and text with my Skype address or Facebook email!

 

 
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
5/2/2014 | 1:29:16 PM
Re: What is telco any more?
Yep, increasingly anyone can be a telco or a "webco" via WebRTC, VoIP, and OTT and a customer "identity," which doesn't have to be the phone number anymore. it's a scary thing for operators!
jabailo
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jabailo,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/2/2014 | 1:22:19 PM
What is telco any more?
If they are doing voice over LTE then I have to wonder, what is a "phone company" any more.  That is, why is this different from me having a mobile computer, with wireless broadband, and using Skype?

The value added seems to boil down to a directory service -- we still use "phone numbers" to find people because we assume everyone has one and it will always work.   We're still not ready to say that about email addresses, or IM avators in Facebook...or at least not people over a certain age.

 

 
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
5/2/2014 | 12:36:46 PM
Re: SRVCC Support?
AT&T will support it, but Verizon can't because it doesn't work with CDMA. That's a big reason why Verizon is launching later. Last year its CFO said it'd be in the first half of the year, but new research from Credit Suisse now suggests it will second half of this year.

 
TablaRasa
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TablaRasa,
User Rank: Lightning
5/2/2014 | 11:47:12 AM
SRVCC Support?
I wonder if AT&T's VoLTE deployment will support SRVCC. My guess is that Verizon's VoLTE solution, at least initially, will NOT have SRVCC support, as they've hinted that they are going to depend on their large LTE network.
Sarah Thomas
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Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
5/1/2014 | 5:48:15 PM
Believe it when you hear it
Lots o' AT&T rumors today! This one seems quite likely, and I would bet that Verizon will be very close behind. A limited launch makes sense, too, as they test things out, but we'll need to see more handsets support it before anyone will really care.
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