Verizon: We're ready for IMS-based voice on LTE

BARCELONA, Spain--Verizon Wireless Executive Vice President of Network Planning Bill Stone said the carrier has installed IP Multimedia Subsystem technology and is currently testing it on its 3G network. Specifically, Stone said Verizon "will deploy IMS VoIP as soon as we can after the introduction of LTE smartphones," though he declined to provide a timeframe.

"We're moving forward as aggressively as we can," Stone said.

Stone's comments are notable in light of Verizon's recent decision to join the GSM Association, and the carrier's support of the GSMA's newly announced Voice over LTE initiative (VoLTE). The group will develop a specification for delivering voice calls over LTE networks via IMS technology. The GSMA's effort will build off the work of the One Voice alliance.

Interestingly, Stone acknowledged that Verizon plans to use its CDMA 1X network for voice traffic for a least another 10 years.

Further, Verizon plans to support VoIP technology through its recently announced partnership with Skype. During a presentation here at the Mobile World Congress trade show, Stone confirmed that Skype's Voice over IP service would not use IMS technology.

Although many of the world's wireless carriers and equipment vendors have coalesced around an IMS-based solution to deliver voice calls over LTE networks, plenty of work remains to be done. Indeed, some of the operators that plan to deploy LTE networks do not yet have IMS systems in place. In this instance, the Next Generation Mobile Network technology association is recommending a circuit- switched fallback solution to voice over LTE as an interim step, with voice over IMS as the end-goal. Verizon is not listed as a member of NGMN on the association's Website.

Verizon announced at the Mobile World Congress show last year that Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia Siemens Networks would be its IMS suppliers for LTE.

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