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Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014

Dan Jones
LR Mobile News Analysis
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor
4/18/2013
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Verizon revealed Thursday morning that it intends to have its first voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) smartphones available early in 2014.

"We'll start to have VoLTE-capable phones by the end of this year, and we'll commercially launch early next year," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said on the operator’s first-quarter call.

The term voice-over-LTE refers to the running of voice calls alongside data on the 4G IP network. Current smartphones run data over 4G but fall back to 3G for voice.

Rival AT&T Inc. has promised a limited launch for VoLTE phones later this year. Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless CTO Nicola Palmer said in October that she expected Verizon's first VoLTE phones late in 2013 and that the operator was working on issues such as deploying wideband codecs for clear calls and quality-of-service priorities for calls on the network.

This advance actually means that Verizon Wireless will introduce its first devices without 3G CDMA chips sometime next year, the CFO confirmed on the call.

Why this matters
VoLTE phones herald the eventual shuttering of the Verizon 3G network and the ability to reuse the spectrum for 4G or other purposes. It is too soon to say exactly when that will happen, however, as Shammo noted on the call.

For more

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
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4/25/2013 | 2:18:01 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
Yeah, note they said initial LTE-only devices in 2014 not specifically phones, so that could mean tablets, Mi-Fi etc. I can't see 3G going away in phones for a good long while.
lanbrown
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lanbrown,
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4/24/2013 | 4:34:55 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
They really won't save much of anything. -áMost of the current generation chips support it all anyway. -áSo removing EV-DO doesn't really buy them anything, plus the manufacturer might want to keep 3G as they can sell the same device elsewhere. -áAlso, Verizon doesn't have 100% coverage in the US, no carrier does. -áRemoving 3G also means no roaming especially since LTE roaming is nonexistent here. -áThat could change, but other (smaller) carriers may not see the push to LTE let alone VoLTE like the bigger carriers do.
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
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4/22/2013 | 3:45:20 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
So by 2014, we're going to have some VoLTE choices on the market, do you think voice quality will get better or worse?
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
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4/19/2013 | 9:51:24 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
No, but that might be what CTO Palmer was indicating with talk on wideband codecs last year.
Dan Jones
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Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
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4/19/2013 | 6:51:15 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
True enough but the latest gen of Apple and Samsung smarties usually do 3G GSM/CDMA/LTE/WiFi. I guess if they can eliminate 3G it saves a tiny bit on cost, size and battery life.
mikael1978
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mikael1978,
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4/19/2013 | 6:35:26 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
I suspect traveling with a CDMA phone is a pretty limited experience anyway.
SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
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4/18/2013 | 3:18:55 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
That's true. VZW is the only big US operator that has yet to make a commitment to HD Voice, but that really isn't a big deal, since the other commitments have a lot of caveats...
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
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4/18/2013 | 3:07:43 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014


No, but that might be what CTO Palmer was indicating with the talk on
wideband codecs last year.

SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
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4/18/2013 | 3:01:09 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
I agree. While I want an LTE phone, the idea of one without fallback makes me nervous -- think it still will next year. Did Verizon mention HD Voice at all?
Dan@LightReadingMobile
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Dan@LightReadingMobile,
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4/18/2013 | 2:47:16 PM
re: Verizon Promises Voice-Over-LTE in 2014
Obviously a 3G phase out will be a long-term deal and take years. 2014 is the very start of the process for Verizon.

Verizon didn't say how many devices or of what type (Smartphones? tablets? 4G router?) would come without 3G onboard. I suspect you'll want a phone with 3G for a long, long time especially if you plan to travel.
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