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MetroPCS Launches World’s First VoLTE Network and Smartphone, Take That Big Four!

The world’s first “commercially available” Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) network launched today, but it wasn’t from a carrier that you would have expected to be first. MetroPCS takes the cake this time around, something they should actually be proud of.

VoLTE is a data service that will transform the industry once it is widely adopted. Current carrier networks that have 4G LTE capabilities still rely on CDMA or GSM to handle their voice calls and texting, but with VoLTE, data takes care of it all. Call quality and stability should be greatly improved once you have the entire process handled by data. We would assume that battery life on devices will also become much more efficient with there being no need to power a second 3G or 2G radio, however, devices of that nature may still be a ways out.

Along with this announcement of the first VoLTE network, MetroPCS is also announcing the first phone to take advantage of it, the LG Connect 4G.

Fun news, right?

Once Verizon covers the country in 4G LTE over the next year, you can imagine that they will start to ready VoLTE service of their own. They have reportedly begun testing in a couple of markets and have said that they could start rolling it out in 2013 to the public. By the end of 2013, they may even offer VoLTE-only devices.

MetroPCS Launches World’s First Commercially Available Voice Over LTE Service and VoLTE-Capable 4G LTE Smartphone

DALLAS, Aug. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE: PCS) today reached another innovation milestone by announcing the world’s first commercial launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) services, availability of the world’s first VoLTE-capable handsets and the first sale of a VoLTE-capable handset at one of the company’s Dallas/Fort Worth store locations. MetroPCS is selling the new VoLTE-capable LG Connect 4G Androidâ„¢ smartphone at select U.S. stores and will continue to roll out VoLTE services and phones in the coming weeks.

“Being the first operator globally to reach this industry first speaks volumes about our company’s innovative spirit and passion to achieve goals that we believe will have long-term benefit for our customers and for the company,” said Roger Linquist, chairman and chief executive officer of MetroPCS. “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.

MetroPCS was the first U.S. carrier to deploy a commercial 4G LTE network in September 2010 and has since built out its 4G LTE network to cover roughly 90 percent of its CDMA footprint.

About MetroPCS Communications, Inc.

Dallas-based MetroPCS Communications, Inc. (NYSE: PCS) is a provider of no annual contract, unlimited wireless communications service for a flat rate. MetroPCS is the fifth largest facilities-based wireless carrier in the United States based on number of subscribers served. With Metro USA(SM), MetroPCS customers can use their service in areas throughout the United States covering a population of over 280 million people. As of June 30, 2012, MetroPCS had approximately 9.3 million subscribers. For more information please visit www.metropcs.com.

  • feztheforeigner

    Already use Voice over LTE. I call it Google Talk…

  • jdrch

    Kudos to LG on delivering on their promise to be the 1st OEM to implement VoLTE in a handset.

  • http://fujibayashi.jp/ Gasai Yuno

    Fun fact: on GSM 3G, voice is transferred as data.

  • JulianZHuang

    i rather kiss att’s butt than buying this metro haha

  • John Murray

    Props to MetroPCS. Everyone is hating on the LG Connect and Verizon for not having it first, and I even have Verzion, but really? Do you really expect Verizon to do it first? Why are you insulting the companies that are willing to take the risk and innovate?

    • Mario Mendez

      I agree

  • tomn1ce

    Wasn’t metro first to launch LTE as well?

  • Mchl496

    What is required hardware wise to make VoLTE calls? If its all data and the call will be better isn’t it just a matter of the software?

    • rstat1

      All LTE phones are capable of VoLTE. It’s just a matter of whether they will get the required software update that teaches them said fact. You can already do VoLTE using any mobile capable VoIP app since VoLTE is basically the same as VoIP.

      • michael arazan

        Plus i’s guessing your data goes up with Volte services and would take away the phone calls and data use at the same time, like using apps or the web while making phone calls.

        • rstat1

          Only if LTE doesn’t support Simultaneous Voice and Data. Which I’m unsure as to whither it does or not.

  • Craig

    Voice over LTE already exists on Verizon and works quite well. All one needs is a SIP client like SipDroid and a SIP server. With pbxes.org and Google Voice it can all be set up for free.

    • http://fujibayashi.jp/ Gasai Yuno

      VoLTE and SIP over any data connection are different things, and you know it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/cand3rson Chris Anderson

    I wouldn’t want a VoLTE-only phone until my phone stops switching to 3G and 1X in a supposed 4G area. I don’t really understand why this is happening, since the 700 MHz LTE frequency Verizon uses should have slightly better building penetration than the 800 MHz that CDMA is on. Unless LTE isn’t on all of the towers in a supposed LTE area.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Slainte-Threeseventeen/100003377967363 Slainte Threeseventeen

      I found with my S3, that if I switched to LTE only, I get 5MB on LTE with nearly no bars vs. getting garbage on 3G. Of course, cannot make a call, but if you are surfing it’s not a bad option.

  • Tom Ball

    Unfortunately for Metro this may be too little too late. Many Wall St analysts expect them to be bankrupt by the end of 2013.

    • Mario Mendez

      Hate much?

      • Tom Ball

        Not at all. They’re new subscriptions was down to roughly 160k last quarter. An all-time low for them. I have nothing against Metro at all.

    • Holy Grail

      Uh….No.

  • lovehate

    I think ill buy this phone to test their coverage. No contract so nothing to lose.plus I’ll have my razr as back up. But they still have true unlimited with no throttle but cheaper. I have no illusions that verizon’s going to let me keep my unlimited forever.

    • http://gplus.to/questioncom victor sanchez

      My girl had a metro phone, it was horrible. The service is trash.

      • tomn1ce

        I second that. My wife had Metro. At first the service was alright, unlimited everything until she got a 4G phone. Service went downhill and it only got worst as time went by. So I got her a GS2 on Tmobile and now she doesnt complaint as much.

    • JoshGroff

      Their coverage is decent. For the cost, it’s pretty hard to beat as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/justin.pumphrey.14 Justin Pumphrey

    Gtfo I can browse just fine while on the phone just fine here in orlando

    • mog386

      I think you are missing the point of VoLTE

      • http://www.facebook.com/justin.pumphrey.14 Justin Pumphrey

        I read it after this post and initially I did miss the point. I understand now.

  • Trevor

    Quite a bit disappointing that this isn’t Verizon’s news. Further disappointing that Metro decided to launch this with an LG phone.

    • http://twitter.com/shaneplawson Shane Lawson

      anyone but LG

    • Cowboydroid

      Verizon will milk their CDMA network until it is crawling on the floor begging for a coup de gras. Just like traditional ISPs…they want to monetize their outdated infrastructure for as long as stupidly possible.

      • RW-1

        They’re not going to do that, they are setting up the sheep on tiered data without informing them when they switch to VoLTE that all those free minutes and tests will now COUNT against their data package …

        • jmodawg

          I was just thinking the same thing…good thing I have unlimited data on Verizon and as soon as they try to take it away I might try out Republic Wireless…interesting concept.

        • MikeCiggy

          I’m sure if your device is capable of VoLTE they will offer data only plans.

          • Droosh

            $$$

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000864430537 Kuro Hoshi

      You know whats Verizon is gonna do right? Let MetroPCS get all the bugs out and get all the customers yelling at them for w/e then boom buy them once its close to perfection

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Omar-Amer/100000249789319 Omar Amer

    Anyone else imagining phones with poor battery life with the 4G radio on all the time for voice and data?

    • Evan Knofsky

      You realize it will also not have a 2g/3g radio so it’s battery will be fine

    • kixofmyg0t

      Since I’m using a device with a Qualcomm S4 chip and I leave LTE on constantly….. and still have great battery life…..your point is invalid.

    • http://twitter.com/shaneplawson Shane Lawson

      i already leave it on so it can only get better cutting out the other radio for voice and text

    • http://BGR.COM/ riggs

      I haven’t made a phone call that was over a minute in 3 months. And the only reason why i broke the 60 second mark was to complain to Verizon about a ETF fee.

    • Tony Allen

      I think you’re entirely missing the point. with ONLY an LTE radio on, your battery life would be better.

    • George264

      With only one LTE radio. Your battery probably will double or triple.