By Rose de Fremery | September 24, 2014

After many years of making noises about rolling out Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE), US carriers are now proceeding with their implementations in earnest. Verizon has put a stake in the ground, confirming to Forbes in August that its new VoLTE service will begin nationwide by December 2014. This is big news that has long-term implications for how consumers and businesses will use voice and data in the United States. In launching VoLTE, the telecom giant will be doing several things at once: cutting the ribbon on a new national telecommunications infrastructure, phasing out an older protocol that has served as an American communications backbone since the 1990s, and paving the way for some innovative enhancements down the road.

VoLTE offers some intriguing benefits for businesses. Here are three key reasons why youíll want to keep your eye on this technology well into the new year and beyond.

Phasing Out Old Infrastructure

One core technology that US carriers have long used is known as code division multiple access (CDMA), and it has been in operation since 1995. Although CDMA was considered cutting edge at the time it was introduced, transmitting data and voice over this older architecture is now a painfully slow and inefficient process compared with 4G and LTE. Subscribers are using more data intensively in the course of their daily work, and carriers need to deliver a network architecture that can sustain this type of traffic. Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint are in the process of upgrading their networks to the LTE standard. When this upgrade is complete, the carriers will be able to shift voice and data calls onto this more efficient protocol. Doing away with a legacy technology such as CDMA may not sound particularly sexy, but itís a transition that needs to happen for advanced communications services to be possible in the future.

Better Calls

VoLTE is poised to offer far a better calling experience than its predecessors. LTE is nearly five times more efficient at transmitting data than 3G networks, and VoLTE travels along with other data across the same IP backbone rather than across a separate channel, as in the old CDMA scenario. Because of the bandwidth efficiency that LTE offers, carriers can support high-definition voice, which results in clearer audio. Calls will also be more stable, resulting in fewer dropped calls as well as fewer instances of muddled and murky audio during a call. The VoLTE software on Verizonís phones also offers integrated presence information, indicating which of your contacts also has VoLTE so you can use it when calling them.

Video Calling and Other Enhancements

Along with the VoLTE rollout, Verizon is releasing video calling. This is part of a package of rich communications services expected to arrive in the wake of nationwide LTE service. Other services included in this array of enhanced communications tools include file transfer and instant messaging. In other words, many enterprise-level technologies that businesses have had to purchase and implement outright are now arriving at the carrier level. This may present a compelling case for small and medium-sized businesses to consider VoLTE.

We are just at the cusp of the VoLTE rollout, and many kinks will have to be worked out over several years as CDMA is phased out. At present, T-Mobile and AT&T are piloting VoLTE in select markets. When Verizon releases its nationwide VoLTE service, there will be some limitations. VoLTE will only be compatible with certain devices, and customers will only be able to initiate a VoLTE call with another subscriber who is both capable of receiving the call and located in an area that has LTE coverage. But the future looks bright for businesses. In the long run, they stand to benefit from better call quality and a vastly improved range of communications technologies.

http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/voip-new...ut-volte-62966