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AT&T to Launch HD Voice and VoLTE in Select Markets on May 23

att hd voice

This morning, AT&T announced its first batch of HD Voice and VoLTE (Voice over LTE) markets that will go live on May 23. With HD Voice and VoLTE, customers will experience dramatically better sounding voice calls, while also being able to talk and use an LTE data connection at the same time. This is the future of LTE that we have all been waiting for. 

As noted in the video below, in order to utilize HD Voice, you will need a compatible phone (only the Galaxy S4 Mini at this time) and be in an area that supports it. Oh, and the person on the other line needs to meet those requirements as well. To learn more about how HD Voice works, check out the clip at the bottom of the post.

Initially, HD Voice and VoLTE will launch in “select areas in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and will continue to expand on a market-by-market basis.”

Via:  ATT
  • Frank Malloy

    So, you need the one phone that supports it, be in the few areas that support it, and the other person on the line has to have it.

    A shining example of carrier innovation at its finest.

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

      Well if they want a small trial market, they got it!

  • Capt.howdy

    So this a way for me to use my data even faster

  • teebone

    Um I’m able to talk and use my 4G at the same time on Verizon!!!! HD voice? Who cares ATT!!

    • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

      The difference here is the voice quality.

      • teebone

        The voice quality works just fine on my s4.

        • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

          Exactly. Did you even watch the video?

          • teebone

            Yeb

          • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

            Then you understand that voice sounds FINE now, but it can always be better. I have Verizon as well and I personally can’t wait until VoLTE gets rolled out. Hopefully this will light the fire under their asses.

          • teebone

            Not when it will eat up battery on talk time. Unless they have that part fixed, I’ll take true lte I don’t care about the hd voice. We shall see!

          • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

            Right, but they will not need 1x or 3G chipsets anymore. When LTE first came out back in 2010, my Thunderbolt would die within 3 hours on LTE. Now, my LG G2 lasts all day on heavy usage.

        • bionicwaffle

          Voice quality is much better with HD voice. It tends to make more of a difference with higher pitched voices. It’s able to capture a much larger range of frequencies.

          The huge downside is battery life. Maybe they’ve fixed this but the last I heard talk time on HD Voice was a fraction of that of a standard cell call. I don’t want HD voice if it will kill my talk time. Has anyone heard any comparisons recently from testing AT&T has done?

          • flosserelli

            “Voice quality is much better with HD voice. It tends to make more of a difference with higher pitched voices.”

            Like female voices? Such an angry girlfriend/wife? Why the hell would anyone want more of that?

          • http://www.impulsivestudios.com/ Justin Myers

            The thing is, once they have “HD Voice” or VoLTE rolled out, they will no longer need any other chip. LTE will be the only chip they need, at least here in the States. With Verizon, they could get rid of their battery hogging CDMA 1x and 3G chipsets.

          • bionicwaffle

            That’s the beauty of Qualcomm chipsets and why nobody uses anything else in phones – ok besides LTE issues, There is only one chip. All the radios are integrated together! This improves battery life! You use to have separate chips for cdma, lte/hspa/utms/gsm, bluetooth, and wifi…not anymore! I think the battery savings would be small and not nearly enough to make up of the higher battery drain from VoLTE calls.

          • Jason B

            You still have to have multiple chips for PAMs (amplifiers). So, most phones support multiple frequencies, but are baseland locked to a specific carrier (unless unlocked).

            There are two modems in my VZW Moto X – W1605 and W1605L, and W1605 is paired to a CDMA/EVDO amplifier. Useless and unnecessary additional cost for manufacturers. Verizon 3G is awful anyway.

          • teebone

            Hence I don’t want hd voice. I’ll stick with faster better overall coverage on my current Verizon plan

    • Chris Hannan

      You’re able to do both because your phone is using one antenna for 3G for voice, and the other for LTE for data. This means we still can’t have an unlocked phone sold by a third party on Verizon without their approval yet because there’s no voice over Verizon’s LTE network yet.

  • Ryan B

    Does anyone know how this will affect Straight Talk’s AT&T service?

  • Paul Neumann

    There was an LG phone a few years ago that was VoLTE capable. Revolution?

  • Ray

    I wonder if this will eat up your data allowance

    • hoosiercub88

      It will be using data technically. Will be interesting to see where VoLTE goes with all this carrier hatred for unlimited data.

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

      Doubt it, they’ve kept MMS data separate.

      • hoosiercub88

        Mms on Verizon doesn’t go through LTE.

  • AndrewScottRox

    That’s very interesting news. I wonder what part of Indiana there are lighting up. Anyone have a nexus to spare for testing?

    • El_Big_CHRIS

      It says only the s4 mini can take advantage

      • AndrewScottRox

        Son of a…….

    • Ray

      Read much?

      • AndrewScottRox

        No. I’m quick the trigger. THANKS RAY!

  • The Narrator

    Before Verizon? Next thing you know, T-Mobile is up next.

    • enigmaco

      verizon is always last to the party that’s how they roll.

      • The Narrator

        and people still throw away their life savings at them

        • LiterofCola

          Relax, people swear that it’s crazy expensive to use Verizon.

        • Rodeojones000

          I will never understand the hatred for Verizon on here. Yes, their rates are higher. But for me it’s something worth spending extra money for in order to ensure I have coverage everywhere I go. Right now, no other carrier meets this need for me.

          • Capt.howdy

            This. I travel alot, been to some places I was a little shocked they had running water yet I could make calls and use data. Trust me places like that you want service. Everyone else can keep their city carries as mine works good there also

          • TC Infantino

            My feelings towards VZW are not hatred so much as disgust at the their business practices. They seem to do everything they can to try to control every aspect of both the devices that connect to their network, and the customers using those devices. And that control seems to be entirely to wring out every last bit of money they can from the consumers. I will be very happy once VoLTE becomes widespread throughout the U.S. on all carriers, because it will allow the freedom to buy your device where you choose, and then pick the carrier that suits your needs best. It will (I believe) cause the carriers to drastically change their marketing and pricing strategy to compete, thus driving prices down for the consumer.

          • hoosiercub88

            Their rates are almost punch for punch identical to AT&T… People just want to hate.

      • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

        They weren’t last with LTE.

        • The Narrator

          But now they’re slow. (Depending on location)

          • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

            It’s stable. They’ve blanketed the country, so it’s reasonable to not expect massive Downs and Ups like the beginning. It’s still a ton faster than 3G which is what matters

          • enigmaco

            Their 3G was a joke though.

          • hoosiercub88

            I was consistently pulling 2-3Mb down on Verizon 3G with my Droid Incredible.. a joke? maybe in comparison to AT&T, but at least I had it, all AT&T and T-Mobile had here at the time was EDGE. They have HSPA here now with AT&T, but T-Mo is still all EDGE/GPRS. Now I have solid unlimited LTE here.

          • enigmaco

            I was getting 768 kbps with it on a good day so joke yes at least in my area.

          • The Narrator

            That’s true, it’s nice having service everywhere, but sometimes it can get pretty clogged up

          • enigmaco

            Yeah there were many slowdowns with them the one area I was in kept throttling me it was crazy. There are a ridiculous amount of verizon towers in my area to.

          • Jason Kahn

            In Midtown Manhattan during about the hours of 9AM to 5PM and particularly in areas such as Bryant Park during lunch time, my Verzion 3G data connection was faster than the LTE connection on My Galaxy S4. In the park the network was so congested I couldn’t even pull an LTE signal. My Nexus 5 on T-Mobile and AT&T experiences no such issues and maintains a fairly stable 30Down 25UP data rate

      • Justtyn Hutcheson

        Verizon was first to LTE, hence why they have the largest LTE coverage.

        VoLTE is a different beast though, as it heralds the possibility of an LTE-only device. Without CDMA being a requirement, they are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to handset control, as shown by the Nexus 7 LTE, which supported their LTE but not CDMA, and there was nothing they could do to stop someone from using it on their network. They refused to issue a new SIM card for the device, but if you had one already, it worked. That is the beauty of SIM authentication versus network authentication: it is completely devic agnostic.

        By losing the CDMA requirement, they lose a significant portion of their device lock-in.

        • The Narrator

          They’d make a lot more if people could buy devices on their own and use their service. They’re stupid for keeping CDMA around for so long.

          • enigmaco

            yeah but some people don’t have smartphones either and that would cause a bigger headache my gf doesn’t like smartphones and has a phone from 09.

          • The Narrator

            At a certain point, people have to move on. Unless they have some irrational fear of them.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            CDMA as a technology is actually quite good. Range, reliability, and capacity are all solid; its only true drawback was lackluster peak speeds. WCDMA or UMTS was an evolution of CDMA tech, but it was not compatible with the previous network-based authentication, instead relying on GSM-like SIM-based authentication.

            With 20-30% of their customers on CDMA-only devices (the lion’s share as basic phones), and a further (in my personal estimate based on sales numbers) 30-40% of their customers currently using smarphones that will never be updated to access the VoLTE, it will take another 3-5 years minimum before they can finally shut down CDMA.

            CDMA was the backbone of their rise to the top. Removing it in its entirely will be an extremely long and painful process.

          • hoosiercub88

            People like to automatically dismiss these facts. CDMA is the basis for a good solid network, which is why Verizon thrived so well. Reports have said 2015ish for them to start the shutdown. Will be interesting to see.

          • michael arazan

            10-1 it’ll last through 2020

          • hoosiercub88

            10-1 you’re right, but not on Verizon’s post-paid network.

        • enigmaco

          Makes me happy to know that carrier lock-ins are starting to become a thing of the past.

        • Dale

          This. Verizon could easily smash AT&T and the rest of the competition if they would just open up their network. If they did that, they could charge more money and people like you and me wouldn’t mind because we’d be with the ‘perfect’ carrier. But because of their poor planning, they are on old technology that is at its limits in terms of network traffic. I jumped to AT&T from Verizon because their LTE speeds in Columbus, OH were consistently <3Mbps (a lot of times less than 1Mbps). Also, for some unknown reason, Verizon decided to sell their AWS spectrum in Columbus to T-Mobile, so there was no hope for higher speeds in the near future.

          Verizon continues to step on its own feet. Who cares about the largest LTE coverage when your speeds are equal or less than that of AT&T's 3G network? They won't be going to VoLTE anytime soon, not until they can fix their network traffic/speed issues.

          • enigmaco

            I’m in columbus to and have been told by a verizon rep they won’t compete with AT&T here and this was a few years ago.

          • Grammar police

            “too”

          • Steve

            “Grammar Police”

          • Dale

            This blows my mind as Columbus is a very large market. Not to mention the fact that Verizon has several large corporate offices here.

          • Vikrant1993

            One of their coporate office is next to my old High School. And I swear ambulances were called every few days.

          • jonzey231

            Yeah I’m in Cbus too and switched to T-Mobile last year and the speeds are so much better. Verizon’s network is so congested. I’ve consistently seen my 4g stretch further north toward Delaware and further south than Pickerington as of late. T-Mobile and At&t are making the investment, sorry Verizon.

          • Vikrant1993

            Same here. At&t dominates our area so well,Verizon wont try to challenge them. Primarily its not really worth the expense too. They rather focus on other areas where they have a higher chance of keeping hold of for a lomg time.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            The device control and lock-in is worth more than you are giving credit. VoLTE won’t magically increase their speeds or coverage, nor will you being able to BYOD be a blessing, as it will be a little while before OEMs make such devices available.

            Verizon is smart enough to know that they can’t be the absolute best network everywhere; but they are smart enough to make sure they at least have some reasonable coverage everywhere. T-Mobile may be great in the city, but LTE at its worst will always be faster than EDGE. The same goes for AT&T, who is definitely Verizon’s strongest competitor for coverage, but they still lack some of the wider-area rural coverage that is part of Verizon’s strength.

            Verizon sold parts of their AWS holdings because AWS really isn’t all that great of a frequency. It is high-speed, but it also requires a large number of towers for coverage, which is against their current network strategy. Honestly, they are likely doing what they can to alleviate the most congested networks (NYC, Atlanta, LA, etc.), while they anticipate the next spectrum auction, which they will fight tooth-and-nail to obtain, as it is perfect for their network expansion.

          • Dale

            I was actually saying more of the opposite, that Verizon rolling out VoLTE now would put more of a strain on the network. Also, I think the device control is more about making it harder for people to jump between carriers. When we have single devices that can work with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, the higher competition will drive prices down and create a better market for everyone. This is the main reason T-Mobile is driving AT&T nuts, because you can just take your AT&T phone and hop over to T-Mobile without a blip.

          • Guest

            I was actually saying more of the opposite, that Verizon rolling out VoLTE now would put more of a strain on the network. Also, I think the device control is more about making it harder for people to jump between carriers. When we have single devices that can work with Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, the higher competition will drive prices down and create a better market for everyone. This is the main reason T-Mobile is driving AT&T nuts, because you can just take your AT&T phone and hop over to T-Mobile without a blip.

          • karpodiem

            you hit the nail on the head. They generate some obscene profits, but they still have a $130 billion LBO to pay off (less now, probably)

          • michael arazan

            Yep, without verizon’s cdma/3G network, they would not have coverage everywhere

        • devman

          SIM cards have nothing to do with whether BYOD is allowed or not. SIM cards simply make BYOD easier for the consumer (on CDMA you have to flash the device to change carriers). If Verizon wanted the level of control they enjoy today on pure LTE it would be pretty easy for them to create an IMEI whitelist of devices they allow to operate on their network.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Due to the 700MHz Block C (i.e. Band 13 LTE, which currently supplies all of their LTE functionality) regulations, they can’t create a whitelist. They must allow any device with compatible frequencies to connect so long as the SIM card is connected to a valid account. That is why a valid SIM placed in a Nexus 7 LTE worked perfectly from day one.

            So, currently, CDMA is their only means of control over not only devices (they have more leverage because they require a “special” version built just for them anyway), but over their customers as well since they can require that certain LTE bands not be available on their devices, or have “testing delays” for devices that do have “extra” bands, while those which are compliant with their demands get better sales and marketing placement. An LTE-Only device could be sold without their blessing or any control whatsoever over the software, and there is zero they could do about it.

          • devman

            I agree with you on the regulatory requirements. Your OP, particularly the last sentence of the first paragraph, made it sound like there were technical reasons they couldn’t control LTE devices. I was simply offering a rebuttal. My point was SIM cards alone do not make free devices / networks.

          • Justtyn Hutcheson

            Ah, I understand now. There are many ways for them to control LTE-based handsets, however, my point was mainly that none of those methods gives them anywhere near the same leverage as CDMA does. Verizon no longer has the “oh, and since it is a custom job *anyway*, can you do xyz too?” argument to make. The OEM has a higher incentive to make a single device that is common to all carriers, because that is much cheaper for them. Note, that is only a slight reduction in power (Verizon is still the largest carrier in the US by far), but it is a crack in the facade that at least gives the OEM a fighting chance.

          • michael arazan

            considering Verizon has paid 0 taxes for the past 4 years, and are earning 30 Billion a quarter, they could of seeded more LTE towers at a cost of $250K per tower.

          • fxrsniper

            Verizon only owns 45% of the company Vodafone in the UK owns the other 55%

          • Jason B

            Verizon bought back their share and now own 100% of Verizon Wireless. It was recently approved.

          • fxrsniper

            Im referring to the previous taxes

        • Truth Teller

          “the largest LTE coverage.”

          Largest is far from best. And largest due to Northeast US coverage (original homes of NYNEX & Bell Atlantic). They suck in the rest of the US. It’s easier for AT&T to add towers in Northeast than Verizon in rest of US. So in summary, Verizon blows (high price, crappy service)

          • fxrsniper

            You sir are completely wrong. Verizon is big because of reliability. I average 12 to 44Mbs on LTE Thats plenty its not about the fastest speeds but the most reliable

    • abqnm

      T-Mobile already has HD Voice. And it works on HSPA+. Still requires 2 HD Voice capable devices on T-Mobile, but it is already there.