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Network World - AT&T and Verizon, along with several other telecom companies and device manufacturers, have joined forces to help develop voice and SMS standards for the 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) standard.
The two major telcos, along with companies such as Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent and Orange, today announced that they "have jointly developed a technical profile for LTE voice and SMS services" that will define "an optimal set of existing 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project)-specified functionalities that all industry stakeholders… can use to offer compatible voice solutions."
LTE is a GSM-based wireless data standard that has been adopted by Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile as their choice for 4G wireless technology. Verizon, which is slated to begin offering LTE services commercially in 2010, is expected to initially offer it as a data-only service similar to Sprint's current WiMAX offerings, as standards for LTE-based voice and SMS services have yet to be finalized for commercial use.
The coalition of telecom and tech companies said today they were banding together to create joint voice and SMS standards to "avoid fragmentation" of LTE services and ensure "the widest possible ecosystem for LTE." To that end, the group has decided to work with the 3GPP's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) that is designed to transfer wireless voice services over to IP. In their profile for LTE voice standards, the companies said the increased power of wireless IP networks through 4G technologies "creates the need for a voice evolution… from existing CS networks to Voice over IP using IMS."
The companies emphasized that their profile for LTE voice and SMS is not a final product but is merely an outline that will be handed over to industry standards forums for review, with the hope that final standards for the protocols will be developed within the next few years. Although Verizon is deploying LTE aggressively next year, AT&T and T-Mobile have decided to hold back and are due to start deploying the technology sometime in 2011.
Read more about lans & wans in Network World's LANs & WANs section.