Verizon Wireless promised on Tuesday to subscribers clearer and crisper phone calls and chat services similar to what Skype offers.
That would be possible with the upcoming nationwide launch by the telco of its voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in the coming weeks. Once the VoLTE is launched, customers would have access to a new high-definition voice service.
The new service is expected to drastically improve the sound quality of voice calls within the telco.
Users could make or accept video phone calls from their mobile phones without the need for launch an app for that purpose, said Verizon Executive Director of Mobile Services Greg Dial, adding that once customers experience the HD voice quality, they would likely not want to return to the old service.
"Switching between a VoLTE call and a standard CDMA call was like night and day, with the VoLTE call just sounding a whole lot better. I'm not convinced that it will make me actually start using my phone for voice calls again, but if I had to, I'd choose a VoLTE call over traditional cellular any day of the week," said Dan Seifert of The Verge, quoted by Business Insider.
Dial said that the new video-calling capability built into the service is similar to Apple's FaceTime app or the high-definition quality of the voice service found in the Apple app.
Verizon won't charge subscribers more for the video chat service, but it would count as part of the telco's regular voice calls under the firm's service plans.
That means customers who pay a certain amount for voice minutes would have their VoLTE calls charged against their minutes, while customers on share plan could make unlimited voice calls using the VoLTE service under Verizon's traditional phone service.
Verizon has not provided a specific date for the roll out of the VoLTE service, but Verizon Vice President for the Network Mike Haberman advised subscribers to stay tuned for the release of more details on the launch date and which devices would initially receive the VoLTE service.
To add the service, a phone owner must have an over-the-air software update to his device.
It is not only Verizon that is adding VoLTE to its services but also other major carriers such as AT&T, which is offering it on some select markets, T-Mobile, which has it already on a nationwide scale, and Verizon, which similarly plans a nationwide roll out.
With VoLTE, telcos would use their data network to transmit voice services similar to how they transmit data. By treating voice like data on 4G data networks would make the network of wireless providers more efficient as it moves away from circuit-switched technology to VoLTE. This allows the carriers to reuse older spectrum that they initially allocated for voice service that were circuit switched.
The freed spectrum would allow telcos to deploy more high-speed data services, which translates into faster service for users.
Such offer of services is premised on telcos upgrading their infrastructure to meet the ever-growing demand for data and voice services.