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Telecommunications’ two biggest rivals are teaming to provide their customers with the next generation of wireless calling.
Verizon and AT&T said they will enable VoLTE-to-VoLTE connections between each others’ customers sometime next year.
Both companies are testing the integration in labs before they move to field trials. They say customers should have a seamless experience making VoLTE HD calls between networks – and soon video calls – rich messaging and more in the future.
“Customers use their smartphones to connect with friends, family and colleagues across service providers and around the world. Interoperability among all VoLTE providers takes connectivity to the next level with HD quality voice and additional features that customers want,” said Tony Melone, chief technology officer at Verizon. “We’re pleased to be working with AT&T as our first interoperating carrier, and we look forward to working with other operators as VoLTE continues to grow.”
VoLTE, similar to the upgrade from standard definition television to HDTV, offers better sound quality for voice calling because the sound travels over the carriers’ high-speed data networks rather than their voice networks.
As of now, T-Mobile and Verizon are the only networks to offer nationwide VoLTE. And there’s a catch: Until interoperability agreements like this one between AT&T and Verizon are finalized, the person you are calling must also be a T-Mobile or Verizon customer. Not only that, only a handful of new smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone 6, are VoLTE-compatible.