The CDMA and GSM standard have both been around for a number of years as the standard in wireless communication. If you’ve made a phone call on a cell phone in the last twenty years or so, then GSM or CDMA were the technology that made it possible. However, new tech known as VoLTE – or Voice over LTE – wants to change that, and it may do so while improving your battery life, and giving higher audio quality.
VoLTE is in many ways a lot like VoIP, except that it utilizes a data connection through LTE spectrum to accomplish the task, rather than the IP protocol. It’s already being implemented international markets, but has yet to be injected into the U.S. despite the huge growth of LTE in the last two years. Slowly but surely though the technology is being tested by infrastructure firms as they prepare to bring VoLTE to the United States, as it really is the long term goal for voice communication. VoLTE offers CD-quality audio to customers by utilizing LTE bandwidth to communicate, much like how Skype has higher quality audio than your average telephone. The service, in testing by Metrico Wireless on MetroPCS, could greatly improve battery performance as well as give all the other benefits promised so far.
Not everyone is convinced though. MobileBurn reports that the testing may be over-exaggerated given the lack of scale. It cites incidents in LTE performance like the HTC Thunderbolt, which while it could argue itself as the first LTE phone, was brutal in battery life. Despite this, Verizon Wireless is already jumping on board and promising a launch by the end of the year and into 2014. The cost, for carriers, however, is significant. While simultaneously adding bandwidth load to their LTE networks, VoLTE will also do away with counting minutes, and instead utilize everything over data. Cell phone plans will essentially become 100 percent data-oriented.
It’ll be at least a year until we see VoLTE begin to roll out across the country with Verizon, Metro PCS, or one of several potential carriers. Between its offer of higher audio quality, reduced energy usage, and the end of counting minutes, it certainly is a no-brainer for customers to take advantage of, so long as the price is rig’ht.