When Facetime was released by Apple several years ago, Verizon stated that they would not place any restrictions on who could use that service. AT&T, on the other hand, forced users to sign up to one of their shared data plans if they wanted to use Facetime on the iPhone. Just last year, AT&T annoyed users by blocking Google Hangouts video chat, by pretending that the move was about network logistics when it was clearly yet another move to force grandfathered unlimited users on to metered plans.
Now, Verizon is telling people that its soon-to-be released voice-over-LTE service will immediately offer features such as video calling. Recently, AT&T’s VoLTE service went live only in Chicago and Minneapolis for just the Galaxy S4 mini. Although HD voice calling is included, other features will be released in the future.
For any of these services to work though, both phones have to be VoLTE capable, and that’s an extremely limited number of devices right now. Verizon will have several VoLTE capable devices available at launch, as well as support several devices already in the market with software upgrades, Higgins said. But I would expect them to be limited to newer Android smartphones at first.
Verizon has pushed back the VoLTE launch date a number of times. Initially, Verizon was going to launch the service in early 2013….then 2014…..and now it is supposed to be out before the end of 2014.
A downside to Verizon’s VoLTE is that unlike AT&T and other GSM operators, Verizon’s VoLTE calls will just drop when they leave LTE coverage. Before Verizon takes VoLTE live it wants to ensure it has enough LTE coverage and capacity.