MetroPCS Launches World’s First VoLTE Service

Posted by at 11:21 am on August 8, 2012

MetroPCS has announced that it has become the first carrier in the world to launch Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) service, and started selling the world’s first commercially-available VoLTE phone, an updated version of the LG Connect, which first went on sale in March.

MetroPCS plans to start selling additional VoLTE-capable phones in the coming weeks. According to a spokesperson, the company has not yet determined whether existing Connect phones will be upgraded to support VoLTE, and there are “no plans” to offer VoLTE upgrades for other already-released LTE phones. All previous 4G LTE phones must rely on 3G or 2G networks for voice calls, requiring two overlapping networks for full service, one for voice and one for data. The launch of VoLTE permits 4G-only voice and data, paving the way for the eventual sunset of 2G and 3G networks. In MetroPCS’ case, it will allow the company to shut down its CDMA network sooner.

LTE is more efficient than CDMA, and running two networks adds its own inefficiencies. Therefore an accelerated move to 4G LTE-only service will allow MetroPCS to make better use of its licensed radio spectrum.

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