T-Mobile goes circuit-less in Seattle with voice over LTE, HD voice

Carrying voice calls over LTE means faster call setup, the carrier said

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.

T-Mobile says VoLTE calls will start faster, with call setup nearly twice as fast as on the traditional circuit-switched connections. VoLTE will also come with HD voice, a technology for better-sounding calls, though T-Mobile already offers a form of HD voice nationwide without VoLTE.

The Seattle announcement on Thursday beat by one day AT&T's planned introduction of VoLTE with HD Voice in four Midwest states. Verizon said Wednesday it would launch VoLTE with both HD voice and video calling later this year. Sprint, which already offers HD voice over its 3G network, has not announced a timeline for VoLTE. MetroPCS, which T-Mobile acquired earlier this year, introduced VoLTE in 2012.

Carriers have been talking about VoLTE for years, but deployment has been slow. One of the hard things about making it work is shifting calls to another type of network when a user leaves the LTE coverage area. To solve that problem, T-Mobile is using eSRVCC (Enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity), a feature from the LTE Advanced set of standards, CTO Neville Ray wrote in a blog post. The new feature will ensure calls don't get dropped when users move into areas that don't have LTE, he said.

T-Mobile said it's now working on launching VoLTE in more cities and on more devices, plus more rich communications services.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags telephony4gtelecommunicationCarriersvoipmobileT-Mobile USA

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?