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VoLTE/Rich communications

AT&T to Gain 4G Voice May 23?

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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