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Verizon-AT&T VoLTE War: Big Red Talks Up Availability ‘Later This Year’ as Ma Bell Launches Friday

May 22, 2014 - News

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Tomorrow, AT&T Inc. is expected to launch its voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) service in Chicago and Minneapolis.

On the eve of that unveiling, AT&T’s biggest rival, Verizon Wireless, is talking up its own VoLTE service availability. Thing is, there’s no firm timeline, just a “later this year" reference in a May 20 company blog.

Like going from standard-definition to HDTV, VoLTE provides voice quality that is much clearer than traditional wireless service. But it requires new handsets. To that point, Verizon said this week it will offer a “robust lineup" of VoLTE-enabled smartphones when its service goes live.

While, again, no date was provided, Verizon did say its VoLTE will come with video calling options, and that users may change their calls, instantly, from voice-only to voice and video. VoLTE further sets the stage for transferring files, sharing locations and doing group messaging, Verizon said.

Both AT&T and Verizon had planned to roll out VoLTE in 2013, but both providers suffered delays due to technical problems.

And even though Verizon looks to have lost the first parlay in the VoLTE gambit, the company did just announce that it’s provisioning "XLTE" to 4G LTE users in high-traffic areas, in certain markets where the AWS spectrum is active. XLTE is said to deliver faster peak data speeds and a minimum of double the bandwidth.



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