T-Mobile Becomes First US Carrier to Launch VoLTE

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by CEmajr, May 22, 2014.

  1. CEmajr macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2012
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #1
    For wireless customers in the US, the road to Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has been long and filled with false promises from carriers, but it's finally here. T-Mobile has flipped on VoLTE in Seattle, with plans to expand the rollout through 2014 and beyond. But at least at the start, it's slow going. VoLTE is only available on three T-Mobile devices right now: LG's G Flex, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the Samsung Galaxy Light — a phone most people have never even heard of. CTO Neville Ray announced the milestone in a blog post today while highlighting some of the benefits that come with VoLTE. Those include including faster call connection times and, in Ray's own words, "the ability to enjoy lightning fast LTE data speeds while on a call."

    HD Voice is another perk typically associated with VoLTE, but T-Mobile is quick to point out that it's been offering the higher-quality voice feature across the US for some time now. Just what is VoLTE? GSM and CDMA networks use old-fashioned circuit switching to handle voice calls, but VoLTE takes a more efficient approach by turning your conversations into another type of data that's transmitted via a carrier's IP technology.

    AT&T is set to launch its own VoLTE-powered HD Voice service beginning tomorrow, trailing T-Mobile by only a day. But to its credit, AT&T is launching in more markets: HD Voice will be available in areas of Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Unfortunately, device selection is even more limited. If you want to use HD Voice with AT&T on day one, you're stuck with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini. Like T-Mobile, the company aims to expand availability to new markets as the year progresses.

    As for Verizon Wireless, the largest US carrier is still sticking to an unspecific "this year" timeframe. On a call with media earlier this week, Verizon executives revealed that they'll have numerous phones ready for VoLTE when it's eventually turned on. And unlike its rivals, Verizon is going big out of the gate and promising a nationwide launch. HD Voice and a Facetime-like video calling service were the two main points that Verizon highlighted during the call. Both will be easily accessible in the native dialer of compatible smartphones, the executives said. Verizon is also promising to update existing devices already on the market to support VoLTE so long as they contain the required technology. Smaller carrier MetroPCS beat everyone to the punch when it debuted VoLTE in 2012.


    http://www.theverge.com/2014/5/22/5742006/tmobile-launches-volte

    AT&T launching tomorrow.
     
  2. AutoUnion39 macrumors 601

    AutoUnion39

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2010
    #2
    Good for T-Mobile, but they need to worry about densifying their network before fully deploying VoLTE. Using Boston as an example, LTE drops in and out as you go down most streets. Pretty pathetic. Imagine trying to hold a voice call. It would keep dropping.

    I think the most important takeaway from all these carriers finally getting VoLTE up is that Apple needs to support VoLTE and Carrier Aggregation (LTE-A) in the next variant of the iPhone.
     
  3. Tomb01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2009
    Location:
    Colleyville, TX
    #3
    Both my wife and I have the iPhone 5s, and given our incredibly poor reception in many areas, would be VERY reluctant to recommend T-Mobile to anyone unless they were EXTREMELY price sensitive. Have had poor or no reception in many different locations (I used to travel for business. This is my personal phone, but my company phone on several different carriers never had the problems I am having with T-Mobile), including my home zip code of 76034 (rated Very Good or Excellent by the T-Mobile map). I can reliably locate areas of my hometown where I will get 1 bar of E, or no connection at all. (very annoying when it is the grocery store and you cannot verify the exact list you were sent to pick up) I keep thinking some update will come out to correct the problem (I can usually tell it is going to drop my call when it starts shifting from 4G/LTE to E and back). I guess there is a reason it is much less expensive than other services, but that low price keeps me as a customer, even though my wife and I constantly have issues.
     
  4. mattwallace24 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #4
    In the long run, this is a small step in the right direction. Although I work in the industry, I've never understood why everyone is so tolerant of today's wireless voice quality. Over the years, somehow we digressed from traditional landline long distance "so quiet you can hear a pin drop" service levels to measuring dropped calls as the primary measurement of voice quality.

    In the short term, this is nothing more than a nice press release competition between TMo and AT&T. TMo gets a ribbon for serving ONE market a day before AT&T launches in a few markets tomorrow. To top it off, TMo VoLTE is limited to 3 phones and AT&T one. So in reality, all six people in Seattle using TMo on one of these three phones supporting VoLTE are hearing great voice quality and the 7 people in all the markets AT&T is rolling this out in tomorrow that have the 1 phone supported will notice the improvement.

    Since this is an Apple forum, the real question is when will the iPhone support VoLTE? Hopefully the iPhone 6 will??? Or will we have to wait until 6S??? Until then, as an iPhone user, VoLTE is useless to me.
     

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