AT&T may launch VoLTE on May 23, beat Verizon to the punch

by: Bogdan PetrovanMay 3, 2014

LG VoLTE Voice over LTE

Put simply, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is a protocol that enables making voice calls over LTE networks. Long promised by US carriers, VoLTE should greatly improve voice call quality, to the kind of clarity and richness you typically experience on Skype, Hangouts, or other VoIP services. Switching to VoLTE can also improve battery life and reduce call drop rates.

According to sources cited by Engadget, AT&T could be the first big carrier to flick the switch on a VoLTE service in the United States, with the first markets set to receive it being Minneapolis and Chicago. If everything goes to plan, AT&T customers in these markets may be able to make VoLTE calls on May 23, reports the website.

In an official response, AT&T only said it’s currently completing VoLTE testing and that “initial markets will be VoLTE ready this year.” Verizon was long considered the favorite in the race to offer VoLTE services in the US, but it seems that AT&T will beat it to the punch.

Before you get too excited, you should know that your existing phone may not be capable of making VoLTE calls, even if it features LTE. While many modern devices should support the new standard, AT&T will probably push OTA updates in order to activate the capability.

Back at CES, AT&T and Asus announced that the first device to support VoLTE in the US would be the PadFone X phone-tablet hybrid. So, if Engadget’s report is accurate, the PadFone X should hit the market around May 23.

  • The Method

    Wait, if I switch to VoLTE, will I be able to make regular calls without using minutes?

    • Bryce

      It’ll still use minutes without a doubt.

      • Omegaclawe

        Hell, the way these companies do things, it’ll probably use both minutes and data. They really like double dipping.

        • The Method

          Well that’s the thing, I’d be fine with it using data, but both? Considering most people have unlimited minutes and limited data, you’d think they’d just have it use data. At least I’d hope that’d be the case.

  • K

    Unlike AT&T it’s highly unlikely Verizon will start with just 2 markets. Probably just did it to claim to be first.

  • jjordan

    I can’t believe at&t is gonna be first on this. Verizon has basically built there volte network completely and have been testing it into the ground. It’s been ready for some time now

  • I’m probably not in one of the markets it’s launching in, but being an at&t customer this makes me happy. They’ve come a long way from the iPhone 3G/3GS days of 2008/2009, their network has grown and gotten significantly better these last few years, topping that of Verizon in a lot of areas including my own.

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