Last week in New Jersey, Verizon Wireless made the world’s first VoLTE call over a commercial network and has continued to demonstrate the technology this past week at the2011 Mobile World Congress (MWC 2011) in Barcelona, Spain.
This is a significant technological event for a number of reasons:
- Both LTE and WiMAX (4G technologies) are 100% Internet protocol based - voice, video and data. 3G and earlier technologies still switch voice calls.
- Verizon is using the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) codec which offers better sound quality. AMR-WB is commonly referred to as "High Definition (HD) Voice". It is a significant improvement over existing mobile voice.
- LTE network setup, configuration and maintenance is simpler and will ultimately cost providers less. This should speed implementation and ultimately drive consumer costs down.
- By the end of 2013, Verizon will have the existing 3G footprint covered with LTE. Between now and the end of 2013, users will have the option of using the Verizon 3G network or 4G VoLTE. 4G calls cannot be handed off to 3G service and phones will come with both 3G and LTE radios.
- AT&T is targeting VoLTE capabilities by 2013 with a seven year plan to move fully to LTE, shutting down it's existing TDM based network.
Here's an Engadget demo video shot at MWC 2011 this past week.
Landline quality over a wireless connection. This is going to put a significant dent in already rapidly declining landline business.