After years of speculation, Verizon is finally debuting a new function that will change everything about talking on a cellphone. The new service is called VoLTE (or HD Voice over LTE) and will open up a whole new world of mobile possibilities.
Right now, most cellular providers use two different networks to carry voice and data traffic. For instance, Verizon primarily uses the CDMA network for voice calls and LTE network for data connections. But, VoLTE will change that by allowing Verizon to use LTE to carry voice and data on compatible gadgets.
VoLTE compatible phones will be able to make video calls without an extra app and make calls in HD audio.
However, Verizon is also launching the first set of RCS (Rich Communications Services) to go with it: video calling. VoLTE and RCS Video Calling are being dubbed as “Advanced Calling 1.0.″ The company plans to roll out other RCS features like presence notification, instant messaging, and file transfers in the future. Unfortunately, despite the IP voice interconnection with T-Mobile made earlier this year, we were told that VoLTE HD Voice calls only work among Verizon Wireless customers for now.
Verizon's been talking about making this switch for years now, but it had to upgrade its LTE network first to provide enough coverage to make it work. Now, the company is saying VoLTE will be available nationwide in a few weeks. T-Mobile launched VoLTE services earlier this year, but it's only available in select markets.
There's also a possibility that this will allow phones that aren't currently available with Verizon to connect with the provider. That's because any unlocked gadget with the right VoLTE software should work with Verizon because of rules that "mandate open access to the network for any compatible device..."
Provided that the device is loaded with the requisite VoLTE software, any unlocked LTE phone with compatible bands will work. That means phones like the Sony Xperia Z2 (which supports Verizon’s LTE network on 700MHz and AWS but lacks support for the CDMA network) would be able to make calls on Verizon’s network once a software update by Sony is made to add VoLTE software to the phone.
Verizon is the number one cellular provider in the country, but the other major companies have been cutting prices and offering deals to try and change that. But, I think its VoLTE services might just keep Verizon in the top spot for a bit longer.