T-Mobile yesterday launched the long-awaited Voice over LTE service, becoming the first of the big four wireless carriers to offer the service to its subscribers. CTO Neville Ray made the announcement in a blog post. What took some shine off the announcement is the fact that the technology debuted in a single market – Seattle, and is available on only three T-Mobile devices right now: LG’s G Flex, the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and the Samsung Galaxy Light. The company, however, has plans to expand the rollout through 2014 and beyond.
T-Mobile USA has rolled out voice over LTE in its home base of Seattle, offering high-definition voice and promising benefits to subscribers from a technology that in time could save carriers a lot of money. VoLTE carries voice calls over a phone’s LTE data connection instead of a 3G circuit-switched network. That may eventually mean carriers can operate just one network, but it could also allow them to offer a broader range of services, including video calling. With VoIP, video chat and other communications services readily available “over the top” from Internet companies, carriers want to get into the game with integrated offerings, called rich communications services. In the Seattle area, VoLTE is now available for the LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Samsung Galaxy Light phones. T-Mobile subscribers with those phones can start using VoLTE by getting an update to the latest software. For VoLTE to work, both phones on the call need to have the software.