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Report: AT&T to Launch VoLTE May 23, First Markets Are Chicago and Minneapolis

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According to sources of Engadget, AT&T is looking to beat Verizon to the VoLTE (Voice over LTE) punch. Both companies have been building up their LTE networks in America over the past couple of years, with each being essentially done with the initial process.

From what sources state, AT&T is ready to flip the VoLTE switch, with the service being turned on in two markets, Chicago and Minneapolis, on May 23. A separate report out of GigaOm stated back in March that AT&T had also lit up its first LTE-Advanced markets, with the Galaxy S5 being the first publicly available phone capable of handling the new speeds. 

With VoLTE, your device is using an LTE data connection to make and receive calls, instead of using 2G/3G towers. This service lightens the load on carriers’ towers, and should even benefit users’ device’s battery performance thanks to increased power efficiency.

The only true setback with VoLTE going live, is that most devices in the wild today are not-yet compatible. Either a device will need an OTA update to turn the feature on, or customers will need to purchase a new handset that comes equipped with the feature. Over the course of this year and next year especially, we will more than likely see an influx in marketing towards devices that are VoLTE compatible, with the upcoming ASUS Padfone X from AT&T already being one of them.

Further rollout plans beyond Chicago and Minneapolis are limited, but when more markets are made available after these two, you can be sure that AT&T will announce them.

Via: Engadget
Cheers Santos!
  • kelly1519

    recently
    turned down Netflix, Inc.’s demand for free interconnection, because http://bit.ly/1g355gL

  • John Doe

    Oh people like to talk on the phone? We’ll charge per minute and offer unlimited data… oh data consumption is up? We’ll offer unlimited voice and only tiered data plans… while we’re at it, lets switch voice so that it runs over data… wait what?

  • Rambocombo

    what everyone seems to forget is that At&T and ultimately Tmobile will be able to deply VoLTE much easier than CDMA based Sprint of Verizon. The VOlte/CDMA voice handoff is very delicate whereas the GSM/HSPA-VOLTE handoff is much more seamless. Look at CSFB that ATT and Tmo utilize today for LTE data when a call comes in. LTE is based on GSM technology making it easer.

  • Michael Pruett

    Verizon has had VoLTE Test markets for a while now. VoLTE isnt as simple are you might think, they have to guarantee quality by restricting bandwidth enough to give “Voice” calls sufficient resources while also keeping user throughput high. I’m an RF Engineer at a smaller engineering group that works for/with Sprint. There are literally hundreds of thousands of parameters that have to be tuned correctly for LTE to work, add in VoLTE and all of the quality of service settings and there are bound to be bumps.

    In my opinion/from what I’ve seen in real work applications VoLTE is just going to be a way to support “legacy” users. Voice is declining more and more each year as users go to other platforms to communicate. The real benefit for everyone is the efficiency of not having resources 100 % dedicated to voice traffic.

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  • NyReynolds

    Maybe I’m looking at this the wrong way but how does volte affect your data plan and voice plan?

  • MikeKorby

    So are they going to increase data caps once VoLTE becomes more ubiquitous? If your calls are now traveling over data rather than cellular, and you tend to be a heavy voice user, folks will find themselves inching closer to that 2 GB monthly limit. From a billing perspective, I can see this being a bit cumbersome for the user during the initial roll-out.

  • Allyn K C

    If I’m understanding VoLTE correctly, the theoretical advantage to VoLTE as a consumer would be battery savings by no longer needing the legacy radio still used for voice signals. Correct? And for Verizon, theoretically, once 100% migration to VoLTE (a decade or so down the road), it would free up some frequency currently used for voice calls, right? Are there other advantages?

    But, to this day, there are places where I can do voice calls and texts with no issues (never dropped a call nor missed a text), but those same locations have virtually no data connection (the office where I work being one of those locations – too many people, not enough bandwidth, data even on LTE goes at a crawl here – per Speedtest, currently at 0.11Mbps). Since VoLTE is just VOIP running over the VoLTE network, I would expect that the lack of data connection would kill VoLTE in some locations for me.

    So if I understand correctly, even if Verizon were to turn on VoLTE, I would still require the old voice radio to be running – no battery savings for me here. Otherwise, if I switched to VoLTE exclusively, I would actually have a decrease in voice coverage area.

  • akazerotime

    I have a source that has informed me the ATT VoLTE network is not even close to ready even in these test cities. Way too many issues. Look for this date to be moved out.

  • chris125

    It will end up being another “feature” they try to charge more for. Not to mention I will hold off on 1st gen VoLTE, after being an early adopter with the thunderbolt and other LTE phones.

  • http://idle0095.com/ IDLE0095

    Lets go Verizon now your turn to play catch up. Then again watch Verizon release it in like 20 cities. They do have the money.

    • Poison

      They have the money alright. They’ve been ripping customers off for years.

      • http://idle0095.com/ IDLE0095

        I dont want to be rude or come off like an rich dick but everyone I know who complains about VZW and how expensive it costs to have them, are people who are low class or border line middle class. I have no issues paying what I pay for service. I have never had a problem even before I was were im at now.

        • El_Big_CHRIS

          This is true. No offense to anyone, but I see the same with some of my customers. You can’t expect a Mercedes and pay the price of a Corolla.

        • Poison

          I have no issue paying for them either, however let me point out the fact that in my area (St.Louis, MO) they’re no better than AT&T. So why pay them $35-40 more for the same thing I can get with AT&T?

  • Ragnar

    AT&T is giving the competition the Blood Eagle treatment.

  • Wang Low

    So in summary, AT&T Rocks! Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile blow many dongs.

    • Abgar Musayelyan

      should have gone with “wangs” instead of “dongs.” I’d be more appropreate coming from you.

  • Josh Rahn

    People still call each other with their phones? lol kidding. I’m in MPLS and i’m in the process of switching to T-mobile.

  • Mark Kendrick

    Would you please bring me LTE first? Finish the LTE rollout first.

  • Jaggari

    This, been waiting for it. Hope Nexys 5 and OnePlusOne supports VoLTE here in Chicago…

  • JimmyWangYangGang

    The kid who rushes to do his test to be the first to hand it in and seem the smartest, is usually the kid who failed the test.
    The kid who takes time to look over and check his work after he finished the test, is the kid who gets 90s.

    I wouldn’t worry. Verizon’s VOLTE will be just fine. They’re probably just making sure it’s the best experience.

    • kali bred

      What about the kid who took his time, looked over his work, looked it over again to triple check and still failed? Lol

      • JimmyWangYangGang

        Lol

      • middlehead

        We call him Sprint.

        • kali bred

          LMAO

        • Kyle

          OMG…that is funny!

    • chris125

      I think after the problems they had with LTE they are going to wait and make sure they have it right. Remember what seemed like monthly blackouts of LTE for verizon at first? ATT had the same thing and will be interesting to see if the same thing happens to ATT being first and if verizon has been working to not have all those issues at the beginning.

  • BillySuede

    and the gloves are about to come off…

  • Disqus_n00b

    VOLTE? how about coverage more than a mile from a given tower…

  • http://www.failuretodream.com/ lostboardmayhem

    Verizon is waiting as long as they can to turn on VoLTE so they can keep there white list for devices. They will be the first to have it activated everywhere, like LTE, but the longer they wait the more control they can hold onto.

  • PuttsMoBilesiCit

    South Chicagoland reporting in. We already have voice over 4g :)

    • Marc

      Are you sure it’s VoLTE and not VOIP?

  • hebrewHAMMER

    I would still shy away from first gen VOLTE devices. Who remembers first gen 4G LTE devices (Thunderbolt and GNEX)? Exciting news, but I’ll sit this one out to see how it pans out.

    • JimmyWangYangGang

      The gnex came about a year after the thunderbolt lol

    • Eric R.

      Thunderbolt and Charge*
      The only issue the GNex had was battery

      • chris125

        GNEX also had poor radios among other things. The GNEX had a ton of issues as well aside from poor battery life.

        • Jeremy Martin

          I didn’t share the same experience as you did with your GNEX apparently. My GNEX on VZW ran great…i never had any issues other than the battery going quickly.

          • bassman418

            Yeah, I had no problems either. But if I remember correctly there was 2 different hardware versions. .9 and .10 . I had .9 which was the first batch to come out. The other version (.10) I think was built in China and those had radio issues and rebooting issues. We ALL had battery issues. My old gnex Is Still alive. My son uses it.

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      • hebrewHAMMER

        You’re right. My bad. Although the radios on the GNEX were terrible and resulted in even worse battery life.

      • michael arazan

        My GNex would get so hot I could not hold it when uploading videos from camera over LTE, and other long lte transfers like watching videos. It also heated up when charging, was still one of the best phones I have ever owned

        • bassman418

          When it got hot like that it used to have a Strange smell. Almost like orange potpourri. Lmao
          I thought it was me but I knew 3 other people with the same phone and if you smelt the back by the camera (especially with the back off) you could smell it.

    • guest

      you might not have a choice ;)

  • kali bred

    If att gets volte before Verizon that’s just sad because Verizon’s had lte roll out finished since last year when they were supposedly suppose to have turned on volte. att still hasn’t finished lte but is very close and is moving to volte already. Only way I figure Verizon wins is if they light up more then two markets when they finally go live until then att will hold this over them

    • Eric

      I doubt Verizon will start with just two locations. I can see them pulling an Oprah:

      You get VoLTE! and you get VoLTE! and you! Everyone gets VoLTE!

      http://shechive.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/45095-oprah-you-get-a-car-meme-gif-veb0.gif

      • Arthur Dent

        Wow, that is scary for some reason …

        • kali bred

          Yea if you just look at the gif and don’t read the text then it looks like its an oprahcism (Oprah exorcism) lol

      • kali bred

        Hilarious!!! Can’t stop looking and laughing at it lol

      • michael arazan

        Verizon is probably figuring out new Data Packages for VoLTE, they want to get paid for everything.

      • cizzlen

        Lmao that’s brilliant

    • kashtrey

      There’s not much to hold over VZW besides bragging rights. Yay, first to market but what exact benefit does this provide to consumers? The implementation is so limited and the devices that can take advantage of it so few, that there is little “winning” to this.

  • jpfrasier

    I am willing to bet Fort Worth/Dallas won’t be too far behind.

    • Tony Byatt

      I’m surprised they weren’t first on the list…

  • Eliot Wilhelm

    Now we just need fiber in minneapolis

  • Ian

    “increased power efficiency”….

    Well you only need to power one radio as opposed to the two you use right now, but LTE radios do require more power than your standard 1X-3G radio.

    My point is that the power effectiveness of VoLTE remains largely to be seen.

    • Arthur Dent

      But right now in an LTE area you’d be running both radios full time when making a call, right, since you’d also have background data available. So it really should save power then.

      • Ian

        Maybe for AT&T, my VZW device drops LTE and data during a call.

        • Arthur Dent

          Yeah, I guess so. I wonder if that will allow VZW to keep data active then, since its all LTE.

          • zepfloyd

            They will. VoLTE is really just a VOIP call, it’s all data.

        • don

          All vzw 4g phones can do both except the iphone

          • Ian

            Can, but do not currently. Give em a shot.

          • Kyle

            My Droid DNA on Verizon does both…I can be on a call and look something up in browser just fine.

          • Jordan Webb

            Works fine on my Moto X…I do it all the time.

        • kashtrey

          The only time you can’t do both is if you’ve dropped off of LTE and only have a 3G data connection. Most phones on Verizon aren’t capable of simultaneous voice/data on 3G, but all (except the iPhone apparently) can do both on 4G.

          • Michael Luscher

            You’ve got that slightly backwards
            ALL 4G LTE Android Verizon Smartphone’s when on LTE, can talk and Surf @ LTE speeds simultaneously
            The only iPhone’s that can do that IIRC is the 5C/5S
            Neither can do anything simultaneously on 3G

          • kashtrey

            That’s exactly what I said, though perhaps more clearly.

    • LionStone

      Have you ever locked your phone on CDMA only (2G or 1X)? The battery loss is worse than on LTE. I can get about 4-5 hrs more on LTE.

  • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

    Better quality, but less reliable voice.

    • Arthur Dent

      Cool, so I can hear the person on the other end super-duper clearly until they drop!

      • MistaButters

        That brings back memories of 2009 AT&T

  • Arthur Dent

    Do we know what devices can be made to handle VoLTE with an OTA?

    Is there a certain SoC that will be able to support it (i.e. any Snapdragon 800), or is it more device hardware-specific than that?

    • ace

      The g2 and note 3 I know are volte capable.

    • middlehead

      The LG Revolution was Verizon’s VoLTE test phone in 2011, so I can’t imagine there are many LTE enabled phones today that would need more than an OTA update to turn the function on.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Let’s go At&t! Give my GoPhone some VOLTE Juice. I don’t think my Nexus supports it though.