What is VoLTE?
VoLTE stands for Voice Over LTE. You know how land line phones were analog and then they went digital. Your voice was turned into zeros and ones, transmitted and then put back together. The sound was much more clear and the companies could put more people talking onto a line. It's the same thing but with your cell phone.
It's claimed that calling quality will be better, like the difference between a cassette tape and a CD. It also allows carriers to handle your voice like data so they don't need multiple antennas. Voice and SMS go over one antenna while everything else goes over another.
Apparently Verizon started the network on 9/15/14 but only for a couple of phones. Namely, the iPhone 6, LG G2 and Galaxy S5. Expect the Note 3 and 4 and Galaxy S4. Verizon is calling the service Advanced Calling 1.0. Look for it on your phone after your next update. There is no information about the specifics for other carriers.
The down side?
Yup. At least for Verizon here's what we know. Everything is still considered data except for voice and sms. While the sms part might change in the future we know that making a call is not going to count against your data. But they want to make money too so on the next update they will let you use the phone dialer to make a video call. The audio portion of that call will still not count against your data but the video part will. Verizon believes that one minute of video call will cost you about 7 MB of data. Ouch. Watch yourself when doing that.
In the future more carriers will upgrade their towers and go with VoLTE also. You can expect carriers in poor financial situations and not able to upgrade their equipment to be bought out. US Cellular customers, this might include you. A post on 4/6/14 on the US Cellular Facebook page indicates there is no knowledge if the company will update. I'm unable to find anything on the support page either. At any rate this is the obvious direction the major carriers will want to go and it sets up their networks for 5G which is already being tested.
Huge changes but as you can see, nothing earth shattering for you as the user. Just make sure you know what your carrier is charging you when they switch.
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