It might come as a surprise, but the country's two largest cell providers are actually working to make service better for you. That might be hard to believe because of all of the bad press Verizon and AT&T have gotten lately due to throttling data speeds and overcharging customers. But, it's true. The companies are working together to bring high-quality voice calling to their customers across both networks.
Both companies are already in different stages of launching their voice over LTE services. That means they're starting to carry voice calls on the LTE network that had been previously used for data only. Sprint and T-Mobile also have voice over LTE plans of their own.
So, what's the big deal? Have you ever tried to talk to a friend on your cellphone, but the fuzzy, low-quality call made it a struggle to communicate? LTE networks can carry high-definition voice calls that sound much clearer than standard cellphone calls.
There's one problem, though. As it stands, customers with voice over LTE capabilities can only call other people on the same network. Verizon and AT&T have announced plans to change that by cooperating to allow calls between the two networks by next year.
Not every smartphone is set up to take advantage of voice over LTE features. Each carrier has a specific list of gadgets that will deliver voice calls on the LTE network.
Verizon calls its voice over LTE network VoLTE and is rolling out a suite of services under the name Advanced Calling 1.0. To use it, you'll need an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S5, LG G2, Motorola DROID MAXX or Motorola DROID Mini.
AT&T's list of supported gadgets includes iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, LG G3 Vigor and Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini.
Having the right phone isn't enough, though. You also have to live in the right area, because LTE connectivity isn't available nationwide on all networks. Verizon is the largest cell provider in the country, and its LTE network is available in most places. AT&T provides HD voice coverage in parts of Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota and Georgia.
These services are free through both providers. Once the feature is enabled on your phone, it will automatically make HD calls when you're in connected areas. When you're not in an LTE service area, your phone will revert back to standard calling.