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First VoLTE Service May Launch in September, Verizon Still Hesitant To Deploy

It looks like the world would be able to see the Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) service in action in September. This is after South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom (SKT) confirmed reports through a press conference held in Seoul, Wednesday, that it will be launching the service later this year. Should this plan pushes through, SKT would be the first operator to offer VoLTE service featuring HD Voice.

Basically, VoLTE is a voice call service that makes use of the 4G LTE networks to transmit bigger data with better quality but a lot faster than the speed 3G networks offer. Currently, phone call services are being offered through 3G, although LTE service subscribers have already been enjoying the speed 4th generation networks cater when browsing the web through LTE-capable mobile devices.

According to SKT, VoLTE will come with a lot of advantages; first, the use of LTE networks to transmit phone call data would make audio quality twice as clearer as those offered through 3G making the voice close to the real one. Second, the definition and quality of video phone calls would be 12 times better. Third, connection time in making phone calls would be shortened considerably.

Just when everybody thinks VoLTE service (HD Voice) would be offered at a premium price, SKT said that it will offer it at the same rate as the charges applied for its 3G services. Thus, the deployment of VoLTE would definitely be just an ultimate upgrade of technology and not of the charges. With SKT setting up the benchmark, we could almost expect that other operators (should they start deploying VoLTE, too) would freeze their rates as well.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless, through its product development executive Marjorie Hsu, said that it is still hesitant to place voice calls over its LTE networks, at least, until it has reached a wider coverage of its LTE services. The company uses CDMA 1X Advanced Network for its phone calls and data from VoLTE is difficult to relay to the CDMA network. Thus, if the company crams up to deploy the new technology this year, its subscribers may experience high volumes of dropped calls.

While the company is hesitant for now, Hsu assured Verizon customers that they will start deploying the service next year, probably in the first half. As of now, the company is focusing on expanding the reach of its 4G LTE coverage just like any other operators in the United States. But so far, only Verizon shared its plan about VoLTE. We can, somehow, expect that other carriers would adopt the new technology when the right time comes.

[sources: MK, Wireless Week]

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