Verizon begins rolling out Voice over LTE ahead of iPhone 6 announcement

verizon wireless

With precisely two weeks until Apple’s rumored September 9 iPhone 6 announcement, the nation’s leading carrier, Verizon Wireless, Tuesday morning announced the official beginning of nationwide Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology roll-out. The carrier in May laid out plans to deploy VoLTE using the AMR-wideband standard.

VoLTE uses high-speed 4G LTE data network to carry voice instead of the legacy circuit-switched voice network. Verizon says users can expect to enjoy higher-fidelity voice calls ”in the coming weeks.“

Additionally, the Big Red carrier said the feature will be enabled on supported devices via a software update.

Verizon said that HD Voice and Video Calling will benefit from VoLTE, which will work best with scale. Video calls on the Verizon network will benefit, too, by having the audio portion of a video call being delivered in HD Voice via VoLTE technology.

iOS 8, which is on track for a September launch, is said to support the new standard for better voice calling out of the box. It’s unknown whether iOS 8 will enable VoLTE on current iPhones, even if their baseband chips technically support the standard.

According to a Twitter user “joe012594” who made a name for himself by creating carrier hacks, iOS 8 Beta 5 showed VoLTE as available on his iPhone 5s in CommCenter, which handles all cellular communication in iOS.

Considering that Apple is purposely blocking Wi-Fi Calling in iOS 8 from the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5, even though the hardware supports the feature, it’s entirely conceivable that VoLTE may be kept exclusive to latest devices for marketing purpose.

Even if the initial public release of iOS 8 lacks VoLTE, it could be a software update away. Conveniently enough, Apple has job openings for engineers with VoLTE experience.

iPhone 6 (Martin Hajek 010)

With Verizon announcing its VoLTE roll-out, AT&T testing VoLTE in a few select markets with a single phone model and T-Mobile first to offer the service, VoLTE is here to stay.

In addition to increased audio quality, another advantage of using VoLTE is the ability to simultaneously place phone calls and surf the web over the cellular network.

Note, however, that for a customer to make or receive a VoLTE call, both parties must have VoLTE-enabled devices and be in an area where VoLTE is available. If one of them lacks VoLTE, the call will be handled traditionally so the VoLTE-capable party won’t benefit from clear audio.

Finally, VoLTE has up to three times more voice and data capacity versus 3G UMTS and up to six times more than 2G GSM.

Are you looking forward to VoLTE on iPhone 6?

[Verizon PR]