Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) said it is holding off on deploying voice over LTE (VoLTE) until it has a wider net of coverage since the operator doesn't plan to allow VoLTE calls to roam onto its CDMA network.
The operator is planning to deploy VoLTE in the first half of 2012, but it has to make sure that LTE coverage is expansive enough so that users won't experience a number of dropped calls. "That's something we're managing very closely - introducing when we have enough coverage for those HD voice and video calls with VoLTE," Verizon product development executive Marjorie Hsu told Wireless Week.
Technically, it is possible to transfer VoLTE calls onto a legacy network, but it requires operators to support dual-radio or single radio voice call continuity (SRVCC) technology, which adds more complexity to handsets and the LTE network. Today, Verizon's LTE network is a data only network. Calls made on LTE smartphones are automatically routed to the company's CDMA network.
Hsu also said Verizon's VoLTE service will be able to offer other services such as video calls, multimedia messaging and instant-messaging style presence and availability. The multimedia capabilities of Verizon's VoLTE smartphones will be a major selling point for the service, Hsu said.
Flat-rate carrier MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) is aggressively pursuing VoLTE as a way to lessen the cost of transmitting voice calls and expects to roll out the voice technology next year.
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