LTE-Only Smartphones May Be Coming As Soon As This Year

LTE

Yesterday Ericsson and Qualcomm made an announcement that will likely have a huge impact on mobile users, though many probably didn’t hear about it or care. The companies revealed that they successfully passed a call started while on an LTE network to a 3G one for the first time.

According to GigaOM this opens up the way for carriers to start putting voice calls and SMS on 4G LTE networks instead of relying on 2G and 3G for that. This allows carriers to shut down the slow 2G networks and pass calls through 3G and LTE only and not have to worry about calls dropping if you move between coverage areas. MetroPCS plans to take advantage of this breakthrough as soon as possible.

Less dropped calls equals more happy customers. And no more old networks mean less infrastructure costs for carriers. Everyone’s happy.

GigaOM has a detailed explanation of all this including all the acronyms you could possibly want. One bit from the post caught my eye and then made me narrow it.

Verizon’s LTE network doesn’t work quite the same way as others who could take advantage of this 3g/LTE handoff. Currently, Verizon LTE phones have two radios in them, one that handles voice and non-LTE data and another for 4G. That’s why the increased battery drain.

Because of this, when Verizon migrates voice calls to LTE customers who move from an LTE area to a 3G one while talking will have to deal with dropped calls. However, the company isn’t too concerned about all that.

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[Verizon] plans to have LTE coverage in so many places, its customers will never have to leave its 4G network unless they travel way out into the boondocks. …Verizon CTO Tony Melone said that instance would be rare enough that the carrier simply isn’t going to worry about it. In fact, Verizon is so confident of its LTE network’s ubiquity, it plans to launch its first LTE-only phones in 2013, making 2G handover a moot point.

Sad for you, boondockia!

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