Sprint Hiring for 4G Voice

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) hasn't made a strong commitment to voice-over Long Term Evolution (LTE) (VoLTE) like some of its competitors have, but the carrier's job boards suggest support for the 4G voice technology is in the works.

Sprint has two job postings up for engineers with a focus on voice. A listing for a Telecom Design Engineer reads:

As a Telecom Design Engineer III, you will be responsible for architecture, design, testing, engineering, deployment and ongoing lifecycle management for Sprint's Voice Authentication systems. This position focuses on Sprint's HLR platforms, Authentication Center for identifying fraudulent cloned devices, and for planning the evolution of Voice Authentication to support Voice over LTE.

While Sprint's spent a lot of time outlining its Network Vision plans, including its multimodal 4G network and high-definition voice on its CDMA network, it has yet to offer details on VoLTE. The carrier's CTO, David Small, briefly mentioned the technology back in November at the Open Mobile Summit conference. When asked if Sprint was investing in voice, he said the market was migrating to data, and "fast-forward several years out, and it's no secret we’re working on VoLTE." (See Sprint to Fully Support HD Voice in 2013.)

But, a Sprint spokeswoman reiterated Monday and last month that "Sprint hasn't made any announcements about potential plans for VoLTE."

Why this matters
Sprint may be wise to keep quiet on VoLTE until its closer to an actual deployment. Fellow CDMA operators Verizon Wireless and MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) have talked up the technology and their plans for it, but they've also had to explain the multiple delays in the time line for it. Verizon has switched from promising a late 2012 launch to early 2013 to late 2013 or, more vaguely, "when the technology is ready." (See MWC 2011: Verizon Plans VoLTE for 2012, VZ Plans Nationwide VoLTE in 2013 and Testing Times for Voice on 4G.)

At Sprint's Network Vision media event in mid-April, VP of Development & Engineering Iyad Tarazi said Sprint plans to "wait and see" on VoLTE, since chipset support isn't yet ready and the industry was "scattered" now on voice strategies. (See What I Learned at Sprint….)

That may be true, but Sprint's job boards confirm it's not sitting idly by while others work on VoLTE. It might just be choosing not to talk up 4G voice until it's ready to sing.

For more
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 5:30:35 PM
re: Sprint Hiring for 4G Voice

Given the timing of Network Vision, it makes sense that Sprint would have VoLTE ready to go when it has LTE up and running. It really can't afford to lag the market anymore, and it's Network Vision timeline seems to match its competitors 2013 VoLTE launches.

joanengebretson 12/5/2012 | 5:30:33 PM
re: Sprint Hiring for 4G Voice

A key benefit of VoLTE is the potential to save money on backhaul -- and that would seem to be especially important for Sprint, which has less landline infrastructure of its own than the Big Two & therefore has to rely more on infrastructure leased from other carriers.

Sign In