Verizon is making important technology moves both at home and overseas. The carrier will be the first to deploy Ericsson's Radio Dot small cell system in the US and has successfully demonstrated international voice-over-LTE calling with two international telcos.
The carrier announced on Friday that it has installed Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC)'s Radio Dot small cell architecture at its regional headquarters building in metro Detroit. Verizon Wireless says it will use the small cells to support its HD voice service and video calling over LTE. Ericsson is managing the system on Verizon's behalf and has been testing it in the company's Walnut Creek, Calif. lab for the last year.
In a separate announcement, Verizon said it has completed the first transoceanic HD VoLTE roaming call with NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM). DoCoMo and KT Corp. have also completed what they're calling the world's first HD voice and video call via VoLTE roaming. DoCoMo says it is planning to commercialize international VoLTE roaming services by the end of the year, which will also benefit KT and Verizon through their LTE roaming agreements. (See NTT DoCoMo to Launch VoLTE Service.)
Why this matters
Both of these announcements are proof points of two important technologies for Verizon. While the Ericsson deal is small in scope, Verizon's Detroit headquarters will serve as a testing ground for the Radio Dot system before the vendor takes it elsewhere. Launching with Verizon is also important for Ericsson, which has only gone live with Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD) so far. (See Verizon Welcomes Ericsson's Radio Dot and Eurobites: Ericsson's Radio Dot Goes Live.)
Verizon's successful VoLTE trial with NTT and KT is important because it's a step towards letting Verizon customers make 4G voice calls to users outside of the Verizon footprint. Forging roaming agreements with other operators -- both at home and abroad -- will be crucial to making VoLTE a worthwhile service, and one that Verizon can eventually offer without 3G fallback. (See Verizon Begins 3G Refarming to Add LTE Capacity and Verizon, AT&T Plan VoLTE Harmony in 2015.)
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— Sarah Thomas, , Editorial Operations Director, Light Reading