Verizon has been taking a lot of flak from AT&T lately for the current state of its network, with its inability to handle a voice call simultaneously with data. Understandably, the company is already looking towards the future to explore new ways to manage the transmission of both voice and data feeds. Voice calls are still digital data, but those connections are broadcast and routed via a different system than internet-bound packets. We’ve seen evidence that Verizon is working on a 3G solution to carry both voice and data over the same radio session, and now it looks like the company has the same in mind for 4G LTE.
CNN reports that Verizon’s plans for VoLTE (voice over LTE) will be announced at the Mobile World Congress this month. The first smartphone to support pure LTE voice-and-data connections will supposedly be the LG Revolution, though it will use traditional CDMA voice when it ships; VoLTE will require an update to the phone, planned for 2012. There’s no word yet on which other phones will support VoLTE, but presumably most future LTE smartphones would have the ability.
Besides the simultaneous aspect of the voice-and-data connection, users of VoLTE will benefit from higher-quality voice calls, as less drastic compression will be needed to ferry the calls across the high-speed network. If you place or receive a call from someone using an older phone, the connection will automatically negotiate to use the standard, lower-quality voice codec.
We’re most curious to see if VoLTE voice plans will differ in price from traditional offerings. Considering the capability for higher-quality voice calls, Verizon may feel justified in charging a premium for the service.