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VoLTE Service To Gain Traction in 2015

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With the new year fast approaching, it's a good time to look ahead to what changes 2015 might be bringing to the telecom industry. One technology that has been slowly making its way to the forefront is Voice-over-LTE, and industry experts expect 2015 to be its biggest year yet.

Landline phones have been falling to the wayside for some years now, and with the emergence of more convenient and mobile technologies like Voice-over-IP and unified communications, the transition away from traditional voice capabilities is happening more rapidly. According to Network World contributor Larry Hettick, service providers realized double-digit growth in their IP telephony and UC portfolios in 2014. Now a number of major carriers, including AT&T and Verizon, are offering increased VoLTE services that might just mark the end of the enterprise landline altogether.

Voice-over-LTE works by utilizing 4G and Wi-Fi networks for voice communication, converting the phone call into packets over the LTE network. VoLTE service provides users with high-definition voice capabilities that offer increased compatibility and interoperability with collaborative media like video and other conferencing solutions. This is a beneficial tool for enterprises as it enable employees to be more mobile while still being productive and collaborating with coworkers.

Major Service Providers Increasing VoLTE Investments

AT&T is currently working on a plan to move away from traditional copper wire networks completely by 2020, and is even trying to overturn laws in some states that require landlines be clearly established with copper wire connections. In Illinois, where one such law is in effect, wireless subscribers have more than doubled in the last decade, reaching 12.8 million in 2013, whereas residents using traditional phone lines came in at 1.3 million.

So far, AT&T has made VoLTE service available to users in select areas of almost 20 states, as well as the District of Columbia. Verizon is also working alongside AT&T to increase its VoLTE offerings and move away from legacy PSTN toward an all-IP network.

"Our internal testing shows the VoLTE network performance is strong," wrote John Donovan, senior executive vice president of AT&T Technology and Operations, in a blog post. "In our launched areas, we've tested how easily consumers can place a VoLTE call (accessibility) and how likely they are to stay connected to the VoLTE network during calls (retainability)."

Donovan went on to say that during November there was a 99 percent success rate during testing for both accessibility and retainability overall. These features will greatly benefit businesses that are becoming increasingly mobile and are looking for more flexible calling solutions.