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Verizon Makes VoLTE Plans Official, Arrives Nationwide in “Next Few Months”

verizon volte

Verizon has officially announced plans for the rollout of their new VoLTE (voice over LTE) service. It’s not happening tomorrow or next week, though, so try to contain yourself. We are looking at time frames of “next few months” and “later this year.” In other words, it could be end of summer or in the fall or early winter or December. OK, so VoLTE is coming this year, but we still don’t know exactly when. Great. 

VoLTE, a service that that AT&T recently announced would go live on their network May 23, brings an HD Voice experience, including the “best voice quality available” for wireless calls. It also offers video calling options direct from contact lists and a feature that allows you to switch between video and voice calls instantly.

When the service launches “later this year,” Verizon will have a “robust” set of handsets that can take advantage of it. Some will have VoLTE support at the time of purchase, while other devices will receive updates enabling VoLTE support. Like with AT&T’s VoLTE service, both parties will have to be in a VoLTE area with a VoLTE-enabled phone in order to experience HD Voice.

Verizon did mention that their VoLTE rollout would be nationwide, whereas AT&T is starting in select markets and then continuing to rollout slowly.

Via:  Verizon

  • Alan Clark Jr.

    Verizon store clerk told me all grandfathered unlimited data plans are being switched to 6GB limit in July. maybe this is why? I am probably going to Sprint…been with Verizon since 2004.

  • Wildcat10

    VZW employees already have VoLTE phones, its the LG G2 with special firmware. Voice quality was insane, but so many issues. Hope you all like cell towers on every corner.

  • JeremyAn2

    Fingers crossed that VZ rolls this out to compliment the Galaxy Note 4 launch.

  • Michael Beck

    So since VoLTE is basically using data… how are they going to log the calls? As calls? Or data?

    • Sundedo

      The voice packets ride a separate stream from the regular video/internet traffic. This is how they are able to “charge” them accordingly. Voice calls will count against voice minutes and video/internet will count against data usage.

  • Eikast

    Bad news for us unlimited data users who have ghost lines for those upgrades :o

  • Ryan N

    Does anybody know where pricing will come in on VOLTE? It should be cheaper as Straight Talk does it dirt cheap… Correct?

    • Franklin Ramsey

      I doubt they will change it. If anything they might make it more expensive. Yes, it will be cheaper for them to run VoLTE, but why would they lower the price if the average person doesn’t realize it is cheaper for them to provide to us? I’d think they might raise the cost because “Now you get All digital, High Definition voice calls! All for only $5 a month more!”

      • Ryan N

        True. But depending on HOW cheap it is for them to run they may be better off charging customers $60 plans at a 75% margin than $80 at a 50% margin… Plus, they could regain some market share by lowering prices to be competitive again… Time will tell, right?

        • Franklin Ramsey

          I think you are getting your math confused. What I’m saying is VoLTE is going to be cheaper for them to run, so if that customer is currently paying $80, why would Verizon magically decide to start billing them less, just because they are using a cheaper technology. Let’s go with your $80 plan at 50% margin. If that is the current price, switching to VoLTE would lower their cost, let’s say saving verizon $10 per user. If you were a company, would you decide to lower your price to $70 and keep your margin the same, or keep your price the same and start making more money? Heck, since this is a “new technology” that improves the quality of things, I can see them tacking onto a bill. Sure it might cost them less, but why not charge you more and make even more money since this is a new technology!

          • Ryan N

            Naw, my math is fine. Haha. I know that with Verizon having a history of, well, being Verizon, that they will mark it up. I’m just pointing out that they could have lower cost, adjust the price accordingly to maintain same margin, and start fighting back against the competition that offers cheaper plans.

          • Franklin Ramsey

            Oh I understand they COULD do that, but this is Verizon. They won’t do that until they see a noticeable drop in customers.

          • Ryan N

            TRUE.

            *wraps hands*

            I think we’re done here.

            Ha

      • TC Infantino

        It may stay the same, or be marked up slightly for the data plans. But, even though it may be cheaper (I really don’t know the economies of cell networks), it will most likely cost a good amount more for VZW in the beginning. This due to their having to upgrade/expand their network to have 4G LTE coverage over their entire service base. I am just guessing here, but I would bet it will be a huge outlay of money initially to increase coverage to all their customers, so as to avoid the very bad press from customers dropping calls every time they pass out of 4G into 3G areas.
        I would much rather VZW wait until they iron out all the problems before they roll out VoLTE, then have to deal with frequent dropped calls similar to AT&T of past years.

        • Franklin Ramsey

          Well it will be cheaper as they won’t have the license fees of the CDMA network once it is all said and done. The cost of rolling it out is already being seen. They already have the 4G network in place. So switching on VoLTE is more a back end thing if the phones are equipped to use it. So, the initial outlay you are talking about has already occurred, all while Verizon was seeing record earnings, so that isn’t an issue.

  • Bionic

    What phones are out there that can take advantage of this ?

    • Ray

      Sarge should know ask him :)

    • Sundedo

      The S5, a couple newer Motos, G2, and a few other “new” devices.

      Some will be capable out of the box while others will require a software update to enable the VoLTE client software.

  • http://cpuangel.com cpuangel

    Are there any phones on the market now that can use VOLTE?

    • Ray

      I think the S4 was one of the first so I would assume most phones after that

  • duke69111

    They should probably focus on getting all the markets they claim have XLTE up and running before they move on to VoLTE

    • hoosiercub88

      I figured it was understood that it’s pretty much exactly what they’re aiming for…. derp.

      • duke69111

        My city was on yesterdays list of XLTE cities and the speeds are still 5-7mbps. That was the reason for my comment. Derp.

        • hoosiercub88

          Your city obviously isn’t live then yet, is it? Derp.

          • duke69111

            Nope, that’s why it shouldn’t be on the list if its not live. Yesterday’s list said that those cities were available. That’s why they should focus on the XLTE cities that are supposed to be available before worrying about pushing VoLTE. Derp.

          • PoisonApple31

            Perhaps part of your city is live and part is not. That is how it is in my city.

  • vwbeetlvr

    Can’t we mimic this by making audio only calls to a Gmail contact through hangouts?

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Not sure how that’s a less cumbersome
      solution

      • vwbeetlvr

        It gives you the high audio quality now, but it is cumbersome.

        • Ray

          Since when did hangouts make voice calls?

          • vwbeetlvr

            Make a video call, but change it to voice only.

          • Ray

            Hopefully hangouts gets update at IO to include voice calls and integrate Google voice

          • DC_Guy

            Hangouts for iOS makes voice calls just fine. I use it all the time on my iPhone.

  • hoosiercub88

    Oh sure.. Just as Google is killing off the Nexus :-

    • PoisonApple31

      And the fact that the Nexus has been missing on Verizon for the last 2 generations…

      • hoosiercub88

        I don’t think you understand what I’m getting at…

        • PoisonApple31

          certainly not

  • Haskell Gray

    I’ll just hold out for VoXLTE or some other conglomeration of abbreviations. I shall call it my Vox Lite and it shall be mine

  • droidrazredge

    I wonder what shenanigans Verizon will try to pull with people like me who have a grandfathered plan with free night/weekend and unlimited data to try and say our current plan won’t support VoLTE service. I’ll need one of these new VoLTE plans.

  • flosserelli

    So people that talk a lot on capped data plans could be screwed.

    • Franklin Ramsey

      They should be able to tell the difference between data being used for calls and data used for other things. I’d guess data used for calls won’t count against your data numbers.

    • Sundedo

      Voice calls will still be treated the same. It’s the data used for video calling that will be charged against the monthly plan.

  • Colton

    How does this lower battery consumption?
    Serious question.

    • grayson360

      By getting rid of the CDMA chip in your phone, that’s one less component to be powered. Plus CDMA is actually pretty inefficient compared to LTE.

      • duke69111

        If they get rid of CDMA, I’ll be screwed in a lot of areas right now. I know this is not happening anytime soon though.

        • droidrazredge

          I highly doubt they will get rid of the CDMA chip inside phones at least for a couple years unless they come up with a new solution to solve areas that receive low 4G signals or have none virtually at all with their XLTE because with no CDMA chip you will not be able to fallback to 3G service if you go into an area with no 4G. I would have no service if I go to visit families in some parts of southern California as they barely get a strong 3G signal and have to use Wi-Fi for data. I would not worry about this for at least a couple years. This should hopefully give them time to fix places that are surrounded by mountains and get bag signals from their towers.

  • deadsix

    Would this allow for phones to be unlocked and used on the Verizon’s network if they supported the right LTE bands?

    • Ray

      Should be as long as the phone doesn’t have CDMA radios

    • Franklin Ramsey

      In theory, if you popped a sim card in, it should work.

    • Turb0wned

      Verizon will find a way for this not to work.

      • Franklin Ramsey

        Well, they could limit a person by not activating a sim card for use in said device, but if you had a sim card already that was activated on their network, there isn’t a whole lot they could do. Just look at people putting their Sim cards into the Nexus 7 (2013) tablets and having them work, but Verizon wouldn’t let you go in and get a sim card for one until they had “certified” it for their network.

      • http://teslacentral.com/ Tim

        Not really. Gotta make sure Roaming works, which is why Verizon is sorta being forced to use a standard. So yay!

  • Tuxdreamerx

    So this is why they rolled out XLTE

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

      It has nothing to do with XLTE.

      • Nathan Borup

        It has something to do with XLTE… they have to free up some of their bogged down networks before they plan on VoLTE, otherwise their going to have some major issues

      • hoosiercub88

        On the contrary… the extra bandwidth will be more than welcome when the network becomes burdened with handling HD Voice calls as well as everyone’s data consumption.

  • Daeshaun Griffiths

    Now you can talk over your data limit. Don’t be surprised if they strip you of free nights and weekends.

    I still have so many questions. Will they give consumers wifi calling?

    • Sundedo

      Voice calls will not count against data allotment.

      And yes, there will be wifi offload. But you will still need LTE signal to place the VoLTE call.

  • gambit07

    Does anyone know exactly how this effects coverage? Is it optional? Verizons 4G is probably the most widespread around but it is certainly not all encompassing. There are quite a few areas I drive through in Michigan with only 3G service. What happens then, you lose all contact ability? I’m all for volte, especially given how it can reduce battery drain but I don’t think Verizon’s network is quite ready for LTE only devices..

    • Taylor Abrahamson

      I would guess that the new batch of devices with VOLTE will still fall back to cdma for voice connection when not in LTE range. I would be worried about the transition while driving for instance, from LTE to 3g

      • Sundedo

        Driving from 4G to 3G will drop the call. This is why the focus now is on 1-to-1 coverage parity between the LTE and 1x network.

        • kashtrey

          It actually depends on how the network is set up if they have SRVCC, they’ll be able to switch voice between networks on the fly.
          http://lte-epc.blogspot.com/2010/09/single-radio-voice-call-continuity.html

          • Sundedo

            Verizon is not using circuit switch fallback, which is another name for SRVCC. That’s adding an additional layer of complexity and requires an investment in the legacy system that they’re not willing to make.

            The goal is coverage parity with the 3G/1x network.

    • Franklin Ramsey

      Verizon had already stated once this occurred they were going to start farming their 3G equipment to be replaced with more 4G, every expanding their coverage. But I would guess in the mean time some of their phones will still be able to fall back to CDMA, and those without the CDMA radios would just not get a signal.

      • gambit07

        That makes sense, I just know it’s not going to be an immediate switch. People will just have to be mindful of their coverage area if they go to an LTE only phone

  • Nobody

    Yeah, enjoy that on your tiered data plans. :P

    • PoisonApple31

      Next on Verizon’s agenda, force everyone off Unlimited Data. :P

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

    It’s great news, but doesn’t effect many of us as we rarely use our “phones” for voice calls.

    • The Narrator

      It’s not just about calling ;) the death of CDMA is what we need

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

        At least with CDMA I can get weak 3G/1x in areas where GSM doesn’t work.

        • http://mikelward.com/ Mikel

          Which CDMA network versus which GSM network? Do they use the same frequencies?

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

            Frequencies are similar, but that’s not the reason, it’s because CDMA has a much narrower bandwidth that allows the signal to penetrate buildings and difficult terrain much easier than wider GSM technologies, it’s why Verizon’s 3G/1x works better than their LTE, even though LTE is at 700MHz it’s a lot wider bandwidth.

          • http://mikelward.com/ Mikel

            Interesting, thanks. Is there somewhere I can read more about that? A Wikipedia article or something?

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

            I don’t have a link in front of me, but there was an article I read about this posted somewhere, I believe it was linked on Howardforums

      • Big EZ

        Yes, I can’t wait until we have LTE only phones and I can’t make a call in an emergency because I don’t have signal. Death to the best cell network (for phone calls) in the nation. I don’t use voice calls much, but I’ve stuck with Verizon because of there CDMA network that’s almost always there in time of need.

        • Diablo81588

          Completely agree. CDMA is unmatched for voice call reliability. I can count on one hand the number of calls I’ve dropped since I’ve been with Verizon for 10 years.

    • gambit07

      It does, because it has the potential to significantly increase battery life. The CDMA chip set is a huge drain on the battery.

  • Daniel Aceves

    i still need 4g

  • grayson360

    Oh look, info I sent you many months ago turned out to be true. Maybe you shouldn’t have deleted my comments.

    • anon

      I did also along with their home security system theyw ill be rolling out.

      • grayson360

        Yea a speaker at my university also pointed that out :D. MAYBE KELLEX SHOULD LOVE US MORE INSTEAD OF THAT BABY ;).

        Just trying to show no hard feelings ;P

    • The Narrator

      whysosalty

    • Franklin Ramsey

      You realize that Verizon’s executives were saying that this was going to be coming before the end of last year, then switched it to early this year. Now we just have a broad announcement saying it is coming sometime this year. Anyone who didn’t know this was coming wasn’t listening.

      • grayson360

        It actually won’t be coming out until 85-90% of their customers are on LTE phones. Which, the speaker estimated, would eventually be in early 2015. So really, its taking forever because us customers won’t grab an LTE phone.

        • Ray

          must be iphone users

        • Franklin Ramsey

          It would take longer than that, unless he is talking about smart phone users only. Their last quarter numbers stated that 70% of their users were using smart phones leaving 30% with flip phones. I’m guessing the real problem was figuring out a way to transfer calls from VoLTE to CDMA tech if a user went out of VoLTE range without the call dropping entirely. I know they were having issues with that, and Verizon doesn’t like dropped calls, so that would be a big priority for them. Sure, it sounds good to say “We wanted to wait till we had a majority of our users using LTE devices” but a lot of the devices that are LTE capable aren’t VoLTE capable, so even that 70% of their users using smart phones probably translates into roughly 40-50% for their current user base using a phone that is VoLTE capable. I’d bet money it had more to do with getting the technology working so as not to drop calls.

          • Big EZ

            I remember when my HTC Thunderdud had 3g-4g, and vice versa, issues. Phone calls will be a bigger deal, so I imagine they want that ironed out first, instead of fixing it after release like the thunderbolt.

          • Franklin Ramsey

            Exactly. It would be a similar issue.

    • Ray

      How much money did you lose? Then it really doesn’t matter

    • Big EZ

      Verizon said it was coming in 2014 about a year ago. I believe they did an article about it at that time.

  • anon

    What about my unlimited data plan? I Probably will have to give it up to switch to this….

    • Evan Wickes

      of course!!

      • grayson360

        Nope. Its a seamless transition. The plans are for people who don’t have LTE smart phones.

        • cg

          So are you saying that the unlimited data plans will NOT go away with VoLTE? My three unlimited data plan phone lines will remain unscathed and I can continue to d**k-smack the haters?

          • Franklin Ramsey

            Well, in theory, yes. Of course none of us know what Verizon will actually do.

          • grayson360

            From what was originally told to me, yes. It’s just a matter of compatible phones unless something has changed. I have unlimited as well and will not let it go.

          • cg

            Well, I have a Note 3, a Galaxy S5 AND a Jetpack, (thanks to the FCC, Verizon had to let me put that device on an unlimited data plan for $29.99…bwahahahaha!!) I’d imagine that the Note 3 and S5 are “compatible.” The Jetpack, I can always replace with whatever…I only use it in case of travel or emergencies or for the occasional data grab… lol.

            I will look at this with great interest. If Verizon does any foolishness, it’s T-Mobile time…lmao.

          • hoosiercub88

            Unless you intentionally upgrade, I don’t see how/why it could. VoLTE will use the same network as LTE/xLTE on Verizon, and to utilize xLTE we don’t need any special plan/upgrades.. you’ll just have to continue to purchase phones off-contract at full price, like you’ve always had to do with unlimited data plans on lines.

          • cg

            Ummm…I don’t purchase phones off-contract at full price. I alternate upgrade.

            1) Two dummy phone lines with basic service and since I bring my own equipment, instant month-to-month.
            2) Upgrade one line to phone of my choosing (e.g. Note 3)
            3) Activate Note 3 on upgraded line.
            4) Do a device swap onto unlimited data line.
            5) activate dummy phone back and keep 2 year contract.
            6) Enjoy Note 3 on sweet unlimited data line from Verizon and at sweet subsidized price.
            7) start from step 1 for Galaxy S5 (which I got for $99 thanks to mother’s day special….) on the second line.

            Oh and in all actuality…that phone was -$77….lol! My girl’s near-mint Galaxy S3 paid for it after I sold it on Swappa!!….only thing I am paying for is $20 a month for two dummy lines. I can etf the lines and it would still be cheaper than buying it outright!!

            So in short, I don’t buy phones at off-contract full price. LMAO.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Very Excited to see the change in Pricing structure when we start going to ALL DATA plans.

    • Franklin Ramsey

      I doubt they will lower costs. I’m guessing they will keep the price structure the same. Unlimited talk and text, with data caps. They should be able to differentiate between talk, text, and data. Plus, why should they change the pricing structure when most people don’t understand this should be cheaper or even that this is all just data now.

      • grayson360

        I actually asked that when a Verizon speaker came to my university and talked about it. Talking and texting are completely separate. The whole point of VoLTE is to finally push out CDMA.

        • Franklin Ramsey

          Well, from a technology standpoint, they are not separate, but they would have to be treated separate on a back end so they know where things would be going if a person using VoLTE is trying to connect to someone without it. Technically, it is all data at that point, the back end just has to interpret it and route it accordingly.

          • grayson360

            Well right. I’m just saying that bill wise, they don’t add it to your data plan. Yes the voice and text is over data, but it doesn’t take away from your monthly limit.

          • Franklin Ramsey

            Haha well that is what I was saying! We Agree! I think we might have broke the internet!

          • grayson360

            OH GOD. WHAT HAVE WE DONE?!

          • Franklin Ramsey

            OH the Humanity of it all! We all might have to go about normal lives, talking face to face with people, interacting with our pets instead of just taking pictures to post to instagram, and *gasp* living our lives!??! This might be the end of the world as we know it!

          • grayson360

            Okay now wait a minute there haha. I will not go outside. I have too much 4770k delidding to do…and new fans…. and….and stuff. :P

          • Franklin Ramsey

            But what is the point of delidding a cpu if we broke the internet. It’s all for naught! Besides, I hear they have beer and wine in the outside world. It can’t be all bad?

          • devman

            I seem to recall hearing stories about how MMS were not supposed to count against your data either but Verizon never could bill it correctly or screwed it up often ( example: https://community.verizonwireless.com/thread/72583 ). Forgive me if I don’t have a lot of faith that VoLTE calls won’t count against data.

          • Chris Hannan

            If I didn’t have unlimited data, I’d be hoping I could drop my voice plan, just pay current data prices, and have VoLTE count against my data. VoLTE calls will use less than 1MB per minute. You could talk for 1400 minutes with just 1GB of data. More minutes than most people need in a month for $10.

          • mike

            i read somewhere that both parites need volte compatible phones for volte it work

          • Franklin Ramsey

            This is true. What I’m talking about is if the person who is using VoLTE calls a person without VoLTE, they still have to make a connection somehow. It won’t simply not call that person, it just won’t have the higher quality voice. So if I have VoLTE and call someone without VoLTE, the back end has to know if the connection I am establishing to them is for calling them or texting them. It has to then interpret that properly and make the connection.

          • Sundedo

            Franklin is correct. There are numerous call scenarios that need to be supported, which is why it’s taking so long to deploy.

            VoLTE to VoLTE
            VoLTE to CDMA
            VoLTE to PSTN
            VoLTE to VoLTE in 1x coverage
            VoLTE in 1x to VoLTE in 1x

            Plus all the reverse scenarios as well as video calling, presence updates, telephony services (call forwarding, 3way calling, etc). For all the non VoLTE to VoLTE calls you can add in an additional transcoder to go between the AMR-WB codec and the EVRC/G.711 codecs.

        • ImmaDroid

          I dont see how they can completely push out CDMA anytime soon, when I still hit quite a few 3G patches locally and in my travels. That means what, calls will constantly drop or you would have to switch to CDMA?

          • Sundedo

            VoLTE calls will drop when you lose LTE coverage. There is no hand down/fallback to 3G. Once the call drops you can redial and originate the call on the legacy 1x network.

          • ImmaDroid

            See thats pretty stupid then… Thats kind of a step backwards in a sense, because i see quite a lot of small 3G patches in my general area, so it will be lots of dropped calls. And saying, “hey did you hang up on me, I dunno maybe it was me”

          • Sundedo

            That’s why there’s a big focus on getting 1-to-1 parity between LTE and the legacy 3G network.

            Not saying it’s going to be perfect, but trust me, it’s definitely a big driver.

          • ImmaDroid

            Yea, it seems like it will be a pain in the butt for awhile. I guess we shall see! I just don’t see how much better call quality will be. People sound pretty clear to me as is most of the time, I can’t imagine what HD voice will be like.

          • Sundedo

            It’s pretty clear. A little eerie and first but you will definitely tell the difference between CDMA and VoLTE. VoLTE is using AMR-WB running most of the time @ 12Kbps. CDMA calls for the most part use 8Kbps. That right there is a pretty good improvement.

          • ImmaDroid

            Thats all Spanglish to me, but you have me somewhat convinced!

          • hoosiercub88

            Because they’re going to re-farm all of that CDMA/3G into LTE/xLTE in the next couple of years.

          • michael arazan

            Doubtful, they would of already started that process. Each tower cost $250,000 each, with them making 30 billion a quarter tax free, and they haven’t even reinforced LTE “covered” areas that are completely congested because they put in the minimum amount of towers to label an area covered.

            They aren’t going to waste money just to make customers happy, that’s not the verizon way

          • vzwuser76

            I talked with Verizon’s regional president for my area about that, and apparently they figure they’re gonna have to keep CDMA around for another 10-15 years to get everyone switched over. Even though most may not see the 3G network after a few years, there are quite a few people still not covered by LTE yet, at least in my state. But the sooner they start the sooner they finish I suppose.

          • michael arazan

            Most of the interstate HWY’s are 3G only what happens if you break down in the middle of know where or need directions? I traveled from St.L to Chicago and 85% of the drive is 3G same from KC to St.L, outside of a large town it’s all 3G.

            Plus last year Verizon publicly stated that when VoLTE happens they are still keeping 3G for phones to “Fall back on”:

  • Nate

    Wonder if unlimited calling will still be available or if they’ll tie it to data usage?

  • The Narrator
    • Franklin Ramsey

      Finally? But they didn’t say when. Just, sometime this year. Which they’ve already said before.

      • The Narrator

        Um, atleast we know it’s definitely this year. Before we didn’t have a clue because they hadn’t said much.

        • Franklin Ramsey

          Well Technically they were saying LAST year that it would be before 2014, then they were saying that it would be coming early 2014, now they say sometime this year.

          • hoosiercub88

            They were just waiting for Google to finish off making Nexus phones..

          • Franklin Ramsey

            Well of course. They didn’t want a debacle like the GNex again. So if they don’t use VoLTE, Google can’t release a Nexus that is LTE only that works on their network which they can’t lock down!

          • Chris Hannan

            Haha

  • Damian

    THANK YOU!!! FINALLY!!!!