Report: Verizon to launch nationwide VoLTE service in early 2013

Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) will launch a nationwide Voice over LTE service in early 2013, according to a report in Light Reading. Previously, Verizon executives had said the carrier would launch VoLTE in 2012.

The report, which cited unnamed sources, as well as Catharine Trebnick, a vice president at Northland Capital Markets, said that Verizon is testing VoLTE in two markets but will not conduct a nationwide rollout until early next year. The report noted, however, that Verizon could still launch VoLTE service this year before expanding it nationwide early next year.

Verizon spokeswoman Debi Lewis told FierceWireless the company continues "to work on VoLTE and its associated services, and will share more on any launch or availability plans in due course." She did not provide any further details.

Last year Verizon executives repeatedly affirmed that the company, which now covers more than 200 million POPs with LTE, would launch VoLTE in 2012. Verizon Communications CTO Tony Melone told FierceWireless in 2011 that that the reason the company is moving from CDMA voice to VoLTE is not driven by cost but because of the benefits that VoLTE offers such as providing enhanced call quality and the ability to conduct a simultaneous voice and data session. VoLTE is an IMS-based take on delivering voice via LTE that was launched by the GSMA at the 2010 Mobile World Congress trade show.

Verizon is not the only carrier moving toward VoLTE. Flat-rate carrier MetroPCS (NASDAQ:PCS) announced in October that it had completed its first VoLTE call using end-to-end commercial equipment. The carrier is still testing the technology and plans to launch VoLTE service in 2012, a spokesman told FierceWireless. MetroPCS CEO Roger Linquist has said that moving to VoLTE will allow the company to refarm its spectrum currently reserved for CDMA services. AT&T Mobility has said it is targeting 2013 for a VoLTE launch.

For more:
- see this Light Reading article

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