Editorial: PC World hints, confuses HD voice over VoLTE.

A PC World article out this week suggests Voice over LTE (VoLTE) will be able to offer HD voice and “Better Voice Quality.”   I’m going to go out on a limb and offer some clarifications and opinions.

PC World: When will VoLTE start to show up?

The piece says VoLTE won’t appear “commercially” until 2013 – not sure what we mean by “commercially”; maybe “available in all markets”?.

MetroPCS ( Psst, not “Metrics”; spellcheck shot you there….) has vowed to deliver it in the second half of this year.  All three major wireless carriers in South Korea have said they’ll start to offer it by the end of the year. Verizon Wireless will likely roll VoLTE in a couple of markets at the end of 2012, and make it available nationwide in 2013. 

AT&T, Sprint and other U.S. carriers will roll out VoLTE in 2013, with the “other” spreading out deployments in later 2013 through 2014.

PC World: Will my voice communications improve with VoLTE?

“Since the data network allows for more efficient use of bandwidth, operators have the option of bringing features such as high-definition voice and video chat to VoLTE-equipped devices and networks”

AMR-WB – the HD voice codec currently in use in GSM and HSPA networks today – is the standard codec for VoLTE.  Verizon Wireless has said it will support AMR-WB out of the box when it rolls out VoLTE and there’s little doubt other carriers will follow suit, especially with Sprint pushing 3G CDMA HD voice in its current marketing hype.

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I’m also starting to geek out when it comes to the whole “Better Voice Quality” phrase.  A lot of narrowband digital voice heads get all offensive when you suggest that there’s “better” voice quality and need to get reset to think narrowband = AM radio while HD voice = FM/CD quality sound.

You can compare the two, but it’s like comparing an unripe peach to peach pie with French Vanilla ice cream – two totally different experiences.

— Doug Mohney

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