T-Mobile Launches Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in Seattle

More T-Mobile VoLTE, Rich Communications Services Planned

T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer, Neville Ray, announced in his blog that the company has launched Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the Seattle area to its customers.  To enable VoLTE, T-Mobile customers in Seattle who use a LG G Flex, Galaxy Note 3, or Galaxy Light customers need only download a software update.

As we have discussed in our previous comments about VoLTE, it allows mobile operators to use the same network technology for both voice and data; T-Mobile’s VoLTE calls will be carried over IP on the company’s LTE network instead of a circuit-switched path on the 4G HSPA+ network.  Ray also pointed out another VoLTE feature, noting that the “benefits include faster call setup times (almost twice as fast as a non-VoLTE call setup) and the ability to enjoy lightning fast LTE data speeds while on a call.” HD Voice service is also included with VoLTE, although T-Mobile has offered HD voice nationwide since early last year.

To address the issue of handoffs between the new VoLTE network and legacy wireless networks, T-Mobile is using Enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (eSRVCC) which is, according to Ray “a new LTE Advanced function and [T-Mobile is] excited to be the first to deploy it in the U.S.”

In addition to deployments planned for more cities, Ray commented in his blog that the Seattle VoLTE launch is T-Mobile’s “first step toward a host of rich communication services and additional innovations around Wi-Fi calling that [T-Mobile is] looking to deliver to our customers over the coming months.”

T-Mobile’s announcement comes less than a month after AT&T’s VoLTE launch.  Verizon also plans to deploy VoLTE this year.  As we noted in our coverage of the AT&T announcement, by making the transition to VoLTE, mobile operators can free valuable spectrum that is currently being used for 3G voice calls.

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