Following the lead of MetroPCS, Verizon Wireless is set on bringing voice over LTE (VoLTE) to its customers by late 2013 or 2014. According to Nicola Palmer, VP of network and CTO for Verizon Wireless, Verizon will begin a formal consumer trial at some point within the next year, with a subsequent formal rollout shortly after. Verizon is quick to point out the benefits of its testing of voice over LTE too. As opposed to using an old-school 3G voice-based network, voice over LTE has voice calls broken into data bits and transmitted across the LTE network— similar to an email transmission or song streaming over the internet. The hope is this technology will be more efficient than traditional wireless voice services, allowing for clearer calls and other services that can be linked to it. In addition, this feature will finally allow for Verizon customers to surf the internet while on a call using their cellular device.
While VoLTE is exciting news, this may possibly bring not just confusion to the average customer of how this works— but it will likely end traditional cellular minutes as we know it. Because VoLTE does not utilize a traditional voice network to transmit voice over an LTE network, mobile users are actually using 4G data packets to make and receive phone calls. This means that if you’re on one of Verizon’s Data Share plans, you’ll need to pay special attention to how many phone calls you make as it will certainly contribute to your overall monthly data usage and thus— those unlimited minutes would likely be well you know, useless.
The good thing is while we have our fair share of concerns with Verizon’s intentions, we have at least a year to see Verizon work out its various kinks and issues. This means we should see much more clarity as we near its release hopefully around this time next year.