It looks like regional carrier MetroPCS, known for its budget cellular plans, is the first carrier in the U.S. to debut voice over LTE, or VoLTE service. VoLTE, as its name implies, delivers crisp, clear voice feeds over 4G LTE networks and is seen as a service similar to VoIP, except that its done through the carrier’s fast 4G LTE pipes. The service is now available on just one phone, the LG Connect 4G, which is a phone that’s similar to Sprint’s LG Viper 4G LTE.
As delivering voice service over LTE networks is less straining on a mobile carrier’s network, it will allow MetroPCS to manage bandwidth more efficiently. Moreover, voice calls will be cleaner and clearer.
“The initial move to LTE and this move to VoLTE allow us to achieve significant spectral efficiencies and will increase network capacity so that we can enhance the 4G LTE experience that our customers have today at a tremendous value. VoLTE also provides a foundational capability for future Rich Communication Services (RCS), which we plan to launch later this year.”
The addition of VoLTE capabilities to MetroPCS’ 4G LTE handsets will be transparent to consumers as they continue to enjoy all the voice and 4G LTE data services with which they are already familiar. Calls to and from the handset will use VoLTE, regardless of the handset or network used on the other end of the call.
While MetroPCS will be the first to launch the service in the U.S., other carriers are considering the move. Verizon Wireless hasn’t been shy about switching to this standard while AT&T had announced that it may debut the service sometime next year. Sprint is working on HD Voice.
VoLTE’s major benefit is that it doesn’t require both a 3G CDMA or GSM radio to be fired up simultaneously to an active 4G LTE radio. This will of course help consumers conserve battery while allowing for simultaneous talk and web functionality.