Anything AT&T can do, Verizon hopes it can do better, if not later. On the heels of its competitor’s HD Voice announcement, the largest wireless carrier in the U.S. is now spreading the news that its Voice Over LTE, or VoLTE, will start rolling out later this year.
Verizon made it crystal clear that its VoLTE service would offer HD Voice. HD Voice is a wideband technology that promises crisp call quality with reduced background noise so a caller feels like he's right next to the person on the other line. Historically, voice calls have been transmitted on a limited frequency of 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz. To provide better call quality, HD Voice expands that range from 50 Hz to 7 kHz -- and even higher -- to bring high definition calling to the handset.
Verizon will tap into the AMR-wideband standard, which is the industry norm, to back up its HD Voice experience. The company said the solution paves the way for the best possible voice quality on the market and allows for interoperability with new standards that may emerge in the future.
AT&T First to Market
We caught up with Jeff Kagan, an independent technology analyst, to get his take on the news. He told us VoLTE will play a larger role in the wireless industry moving forward. HD Voice promises to let you talk while surfing the Web at 4G LTE speeds with no compromise in terms of data speed or voice quality.
“AT&T was the first to announce VoLTE in its initial cities, with more to be rolled out,” said Kagan. “I think Verizon is talking about this now because they don't want to let AT&T have the spotlight. While Verizon will, of course, be a player in VoLTE, they are not ready to roll out services yet.”
HD Voice promises to let you talk while surfing the Web at 4G LTE speeds with no compromise in terms of data speed or voice quality. Verizon didn’t name specific markets in which it would begin.
Verizon Late to Game
“This is the way these players have always worked. AT&T is typically first to market with new technologies. Then after time Verizon does jump in as well,” Kagan said. “I wish Verizon would be more responsive to their customers who want this technology, but at least they do eventually bring it to market. This is still the very early days of this new technology.”
With any HD Voice service, both the caller and receiver need a capable phone and must be located in an HD Voice coverage area. For now, that means an extremely limited market. Verizon promised it would launch with a “robust line up” of VoLTE-capable smartphones with the launch of its new platform.
Of course, Verizon’s VoLTE service promises more than HD Voice. It will also offer video calling options, such as making and receiving video calls directly from contact lists. With the video calling option, customers can change their calls from voice-only to voice and video by flipping a switch. The upgrade also makes possible future innovations through rich communications services, such as large file transfer, better group messaging, and more location sharing.