Verizon Wireless is officially joining in on this year’s major new cellular network technology: Voice over LTE, or “VoLTE.” VoLTE allows voice calls on compatible smartphones to be made over the previously-data only LTE network technology. This allows for higher-quality, better sounding (“HD Voice”) phone calls to be placed. The rollout will occur “later this year”, or “in the coming months” depending on which part of the press release you believe:
The next evolution in wireless calling will be available for Verizon Wireless customers in the next few months. VoLTE – or Voice over LTE – is slated to roll out on Verizon’s nationwide network later this year. Choosing a national rollout on the nation’s largest 4G LTE network, Verizon can deliver a seamless customer experience for high-quality calling and other features. From the beginning, Verizon’s VoLTE service will offer an HD Voice experience, using the AMR-wideband standard, the accepted industry norm for this service. This solution provides the best voice quality available now and allows for future interoperability with others using the standard.
Verizon is not the first U.S. carrier to jump on the VoLTE bandwagon. Less than a week ago, AT&T announced that it will begin rolling out VoLTE in select markets this month and more markets later this year. Other major U.S. carriers Sprint and T-Mobile already have VoLTE/HD Voice support.
So, why is this important? Because sources say that Apple is developing integration for VoLTE into the next-generation iPhone and iOS 8, which are both expected to be released this fall.
Another significant addition being considered for iOS 8 and the next-generation iPhone is voice-over-LTE support (VoLTE), according to carrier sources. Currently, when an LTE-capable iPhone needs to make a phone call, the actual call is placed over last generation networks such as 3G. With VoLTE, calls will be transmitted over the same type of network that LTE data is processed through, and this can allow for benefits such as improved call quality.
That means that iPhone users will start getting even higher quality calls depending on their network of choice. Verizon also teases some video chat related VoLTE features, and sources say that FaceTime’s backend is due for a significant update alongside the iPhone 6 and iOS 8, so perhaps all of these enhancements will work together:
Verizon’s VoLTE will also offer video calling options, including making and receiving video calls directly from contact lists. As part of the VoLTE video calling experience, customers have the ability to change their calls instantly from voice-only to voice and video. The rollout also sets the stage for future enhancements through Rich Communications Services (RCS), which enable things like including large file transfer, more robust group messaging, and more location sharing.