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Verizon has just announced their plans to start rolling out voice over LTE, also known as HD Voice and VoLTE. The system should be rolling out over the next couple of months, and enable high-quality audio calling provided both users are in an area with a VoLTE network and are using supporting handsets. They'll be using AMR-wideband to deploy HD Voice. Verizon promises this upgrade will also include the ability to instantly hand off to a video call, and will eventually lead to improved file transfer size, group messaging, and location sharing.

AT&T is already dipping their toe in the VoLTE pool, so this is bound to be an interesting race. No specific timing was mentioned for Verizon's VoLTE rollout, but they said we can expect some markets to be getting the upgrade in the next couple of months.

How do you find the quality of your voice calls? Could they use a bump? Do you expect to switch off between audio and video calls regularly?

Source: Verizon


Reader comments

Verizon to flip the switch on nationwide HD Voice VoLTE in a few months


I may be in the minority, but I have never had the urge to do a video call. At least not from my mobile phone. Perhaps it's one of those "once you try it, you'll like it" scenarios?

I'm like you that I've never felt the need or the urge to use video calling. We can be minorities together.

I will say that if you have family very far away, it might be useful. My wife has family in places far away, and I know her grandmother has used Skype for video.

When I go out of town for conferences, all I take with me are my phone and tablet. I use them all day at the conference and during down time I use them to video chat with my family. It's nice to see them when you're gone for a week. (Just stating my use case)

There's only two reasons I'd ever want to do a video call:

1. There's a hot chick on the other end
2. She's naked

If both of the above are not true, I have no use for video calls.

Did that between when she moved and when I moved. Now I use it (fully clothed) to talk to the niece and nephews I live across the country from. Kids love video calls from their uncle - especially getting the whole family on board with Hangouts.

I have two small children. So when I'm out of town for work, it's nice to see my wife and kids. Also sometimes when I'm at work my kids just need to see me, so my wife will video call me then too.

I've never had the urge since, oh idk... it uses data. Because yes, I want more ways to chew up my restrictive data plan? pass.

VoLTE should use very little data...and I'm sure they won't count it against your data cap. That wouldn't make any sense

Sent from my Galaxy S4 running SlimKat 4.4.2

Yes it will, they will inflate the usage of it so they can charge more overage charges. Corporate greed is why it would be that way.

Don't see that happening. It would cause more problems than any gains they might see. They'd be shooting themselves in the foot with such a setup. Instead it will be setup where they can distinguish between voice calls and actual data use. Sprint is still upgrading their 3G network.... I don't know what's worse: an unlimited data plan that's so dang slow, or a limited, but reliable data plan...

Brought to you by the Nexus M8

Well I tend to disagree with people who talk about Verizon as evil when it comes to pricing. I had 4 lines with sprint for about 8 years then 2 years ago I switched all 4 lines to Verizon. My bill remained the same, I believe it even went down a little bit. I have 12GB of data for all phones. All phones are used moderately and I have never exceeded my data plan. Most phones are connected to wifi at work and at home.

Your probably forgot to mention that you have a corporate discount, right? Plus 3GB per line is horrible for that price. Sure you haven't exceeded it yet but a few shows streamed over Netflix will easily eat up 3GB in a couple hours. So it could happen easily.

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I have Wi-Fi at both work and home. I still average 20+GB/month. I don't watch netfilx either. I do use Google Play Music All Access though.

Same here. We have 3 smartphones and 4 LTE iPads on Verizon with 8GB total data shared.

We have only ever come close to going over when someone's iPad's WiFi was turned off and they did not notice it but Verizon sent an SMS, I turned it back on and all was well.

We use all of our devices a lot and don't think about how much data we are using.

Meanwhile I'm paying only $30 a month for unlimited data/sms with no contract.

Verizon's pricing is "evil" because they started with cheap data, but once they saw that less and less people wanted minutes and more and more people wanted data, they forced unlimited minutes on everyone (acting as though they were doing us some kind of favor) and then dramatically increased their data prices.

In my experience with sprint previously and now with Verizon, I believe that if you use your phone for important stuff like work, then you will be better off with a limited but reliable and fast network. If you use your phone mainly for entertainment then you might be better off with an unlimited but sometimes unusable network like sprint. In my experience with sprint there were good days and bad days but unfortunately the bad days or bad moments were when I really needed to send emails with attachments or when I needed to use navigation to get to some important place and data was slow as dial up speeds.

I'm on sprints LTE network all day and I use their HD voice network and its pretty damn good.

**Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!**

Can I ask why you have the Germans bombing pearl harbor? I swore it was the Japanese???

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Totally agree with On2vegas, I'm in the same camp, maybe in the minority of never having the urge to make a video call. I believe the HD voice sounds interesting though.

Once Verizon gets rif of CDMA, whoever still has unlimited will be forced out off them, the new devices won't be "compatible" with old plans, mark my words.

I can see them trying, but with VoLTE you could use any unlocked phone without having to go through them at all so I don't see this as the final killshot to grandfathered plans people say it is

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Verizon really does need to get rid of ALL unlimited plans as soon as possible. Getting all customers to a market level pay for what you use model will increase overall network performance, stability, and allow users who NEED a lot of data to enjoy that while paying for the load it puts on the network while freeing people who don't need a lot of data to pay for just that without having to 'subsidise' unlimited data usage for others.

Sounds like someone is whining because they no longer have unlimited data... Just because there are unlimited data plan users still out there absolutely does not mean you are paying for that unlimited data. Not even close! I have unlimited as does my wife. While we would be fine on a 6GB plan, I choose not contract promised unlimited data for $30/m (or whatever it is...) and I'm maintaining that. I will tell you that I do not spend 24 hours on my phone, I do not watch Netflix on my phone and do not abuse the network. But, I will do everything in my power to maintain my unlimited plan.

You NEED it? Great - then pay for it. I'm already paying for mine.

He's using sound logic and not whining. It's the data hogs that chew through 50+GB per month and are unwilling and/or able to afford to actually pay for that data that he's referring to. Your contract promised you unlimited data for 24 months at $30...that's it...a LONG time ago. Now you're doing whatever you can to avoid paying the data hog toll. That's fine, but call it like it is. Just because it was feasible to offer unlimited data at a reasonable price X years ago does not mean they owe it to you forever. I am certainly not a fan of Verizon, but you're kidding yourself if you don't think data hogs affect the average user in one form or another.

Yeah, I understand where you are coming from. I have a colleague who kept unlimited data with Verizon by buying his phones outright. He pirates several movies and songs a day, and brags to me that he rips off Verizon for about 100GB a month in data between stealing movies, television shows, music, watching Netflix and running his home internet using his phone as the hotspot. His favorite app is bittorrent for his Droid Maxx and he is constantly downloading large files. There are quite a few people who do what he does and they ruin it for everybody.

Verizon is greedy, don't get me wrong. However, there are some customers that really do push well beyond the use of others to the point where the quote unquote normal customers end up having to subsidize the cost of the data hogs, such as my colleague.

I do not completely disagree with you here... But, I do not believe that there are as many true data hogs out there as he seems to believe. Maybe I'm naive and have more of a life than some. I also do not agree with the data structure Verizon has put together. Going from unlimited to a 2GB plan overnight is sticker shock... While their metrics might have shown what the 'average' consumer uses on a monthly basis does not mean you turn around and set it 1GB lower! I believe Verizon has heard their customers complain a bit and have relaxed the pricing on their data plans - 6GB for $30 / month for example. I also believe that because Verizon hasn't 'forced' users into a new limited data plan yet that the overall impact from these so-called 'data hogs' is not significant and that their network is more than capable of handling it. Again - just my 2 cents...

Thanks for the support!

To be clear, I don't think people who keep unlimited plans and use 100GB/month are doing anything wrong- that was the deal Verizon made and this is 100% cool to use all the data you want.

However, it will be in the greater good to move everyone off unlimited. It will suck for the people who are using a ton of data but be a net + for the vast majority of users who don't.

Go cry me a river. I am on an unlimited data plan and love it. Now back to Netflix, lol.

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Lol sounds like somebody doesn't have unlimited data. But us unlimited data users would HATE the data plans. I, myself use lots of data, I'd say about 75-100GB a month for my xbox live, netflix, and social networks on my Galaxy S4. I don't wanna be paying 1,500 dollars a month for data. And where I live, you can't get a lot of wifi providers here. I don't think unlimited does anything to everybody else's data. So quit ya whining.

Yeah, we'll see who's whining when you're forced to step out into daylight and do something OFFLINE. Haha. I'm able to do all of that with a 5GB LTE plan...oh right I actually pay for wifi too. What a freaking sucker I am. Maybe a neighbor doesn't have an encrypted network?! Pretty sure they don't have locked gas tanks either. It's much cheaper to syphon gas...

Not sure where you're getting at here with the gas thing... but actually I am always outside. I go to school, and also go to work. Too bad I have to actually suffer through the crappy internet where I am but I don't whine about it. The city speed are 5x faster than where I live, and the 4G doesn't drop to 3G and 1X all the time.

No, and I very much disagree with their direction to allow content providers to pay for priority treatment on the Internet. That will only serve to hide the true cost of providing bandwidth and reduce the future level of innovation. The party that CONSUMES the bandwidth should pay 100% of the cost and all Internet traffic should be treated exactly the same.

If I worked for the FCC I would not last long :)

VoLTE actually takes very little data. Even if you talk on the phone a lot it won't appreciably affect your data plan.

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Highly doubt it would count against your data plan. It will be setup where they can distinguish between voice calls and actual data use.

In the future will this HD calls work between AT&T and Verizon, giving that both areas are covered and compatible devices???

I'd like to think this is something already being considered - would be pretty hard to sell this as mobile to mobile only within the same carrier. They tried that when unlimited minutes first came on the market and eventually Verizon, AT&T, et al gave in to allow "unlimited" calls to any number.

They have allow the same here, if for no other reason than to be competitive with Hangouts, Skype, and iMessage/Facetime. All these options allow messaging and voice calls, but of course they eat up data. I suspect Verizon & Co would allow Voice and Video calls in a separate bucket altogether.. a way to encourage use of their services.

Not sure this matters either though.. whatever you do on your carrier, they always have a way to skim an extra buck on top of what you're already paying one way or the other.

Never had a problem with the quality of voice calls on Verizon. To be honest though, I don't make that many of them anymore anyway beyond a few family and close friends. Tend to use email instead. But regardless, have absolutely NO interest what-so-ever for video calls.

VZW 4gLTE is over loaded enough. I can't even make a video call without it freezing. I can barely watch you tube without it buffering every 5 seconds.

Most reliable network my a$$. Lose LTE all the time in my area.

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I wish I had HD Voice...said no one ever. Never had anyone complain about call quality on multiple devices on Cingular/Att, Verizon, Tmobile over the years (not talking about dead zones, of course). Will be nice to see CDMA phased out. That'll still take a long time though. I use video calls a lot, but can't really think of a time I'd want to go right from a voice to video call.

I must admit, calling someone on T-Mobile from my T-Mobile phone is amazing. HD Voice sounds pretty good, the rare chance I get to hear it.

I have used HD Voice (the Polycom version) on VOIP systems and the difference is night and day. It really is something that you never realized you wanted/needed until you hear it for the first time.

I'd be curious to see/hear how the hand-off from HDVoice/VoLTE to CDMA works when one user falls off the network. Should be seamless, but, we've all seen the digital cable 'bricks' on the screen. It's digital - its either ON or its OFF.

I'm not on board with this because their LTE in the chicagoland area is not consistent and very weak in most places.

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Soooooo is this stuff all proprietary? Are they all using the same VoLTE standard so that unlocked phones will continue to function, or are we about to have the worst thing ever dealt to us via the carriers: Proprietary Voice Calls....

Verizon was forced to allow any device that is compatible on their LTE network, so we were waiting for the day that your phone could do everything on LTE only, with no need for CDMA. Is this their way of sticking it to us yet again?

I'm most concerned about the battery life cost of VoLTE. Has anyone heard recent numbers? I think the same phone using VoLTE has a fraction of the talk time of a standard call done over CDMA. It's not just talk time here, it's using that much more battery life so you'll have less time to do other things on a charge if you talk using VoLTE than if you use CDMA.

Does anyone have current data on power consumption of VoLTE compared to CDMA calling?

I am on Verizon, and the voice calls sound fine to me. Im sure calls over data sound better, but I've never had any desire for it. If HD voice is going to cost extra money I won't be paying for it. That's for sure.

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I am happy with AT&T. Left Verizon and never looking back. I am not going to let a phone company tell me what phone I can use on their network. Android Silver or Nexus will always be my next phone and I know VZW want to control XLTE or VoLTE, who cares your still VZW.

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I live in Beaufort, SC. Verizon used to be great, 4G all the time with great signal. And great call quality. The last 4 weeks have been nothing like that . Now it's dropped calls, slow data, phone goes from 1X, 3G, to 4G just sitting there. It's terible. Verizons fix is to sell me a "booster" for $250

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Same here for me in Cincinnati Ohio. Its terrible even in areas that use to be fantastic 4G speeds. Of course vz says there are no network problems i my area.

Hi meekrol, are you still finding service issues in Beaufort? I just moved here and are finding Verizon a pain at Parris Island!