Verizon CFO Fran “ShamWow” Shammo sat down for the opening of the Oppenheimer Internet and Communication Conference this morning to discuss the state of his company’s affairs. These conversations typically revolve around areas that Big Red can continue to to grow in to make more money, since that’s all investors really care about. But when speaking of new money-making arenas, we tend to learn about Verizon timelines for new products or services, like 4G LTE rollouts or Multicast or the introduction of everyone’s favorite, tiered data plans.
This morning, when discussing the company’s upcoming VoLTE launch, Shammo was asked when we would see the first phone from Verizon that would be LTE-only, lacking a 3G-CDMA chip. The answer, surprisingly (to me at least), was to not expect a device without a 3G chip until the first half of 2016. In case you forgot how to read a calendar, that’s at least a year and a half away from now, but could be more like two years.
The last we had heard on LTE-only phones arriving was in June of 2013, where Verizon CNO Nicki Palmer said that we could see LTE-only phones by the end of 2014. Clearly, things have changed.
Of course, in order for this to happen, Verizon needs to make sure that their VoLTE setup is rock solid, so that it can deliver the same experience that their customers currently get over 3G. At this point, Verizon has plans to push a nationwide VoLTE rollout within the next few months, though Shammo would only mention that they want to get it right before launching. The sooner the better for those of us who want a phone that runs on LTE-only. LTE-only phones, in theory, could open up a world where unlocked LTE-only phones can be taken from carrier to carrier with ease.