AT&T: 2015 will be the year of mass market VoLTE

LAS VEGAS--Although AT&T (NYSE:T) has been talking about Voice over LTE for some time, a top executive said that the service will not likely be mass market until 2015.

In an interview with FierceWirelessTech this week, Mark Collins, senior vice president of data and voice products at AT&T Mobility, said that by the second half of this year the majority of AT&T's devices will be VoLTE-ready. But he said it will be 2015 before we see mass market VoLTE adoption.

In a separate interview, Kris Rinne, senior vice president of network technology at AT&T Labs, confirmed that the company is in its final stages of VoLTE testing but declined to say exactly when the carrier will launch the service. "The timeline will boil down to when we have it at the same quality as our circuit-switched," Rinne said.

AT&T earlier this week announced that it would be the exclusive U.S. carrier for the PadFone X from Asus, an LTE device that is VoLTE-ready and will support HD Voice as well as carrier aggregation. So far neither Asus nor AT&T have said when the device will launch. Rinne said no timeline has been announced but that the Asus device will be "VoLTE capable" at the right time.

Interestingly, Collins hinted that AT&T will offer other advanced voice services beyond HD Voice and VoLTE, and he predicted that a "voice renaissance" is coming. He said that AT&T will offer services such as video calling using Rich Communications Services.

Last fall AT&T said it hoped to deploy VoLTE in 2013 but also said it was not going to deploy the technology until it was satisfied that it performed as well as its circuit switched network.

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