updated 10:09 am EDT, Thu June 27, 2013
Verizon LTE to go live in Alaska next month, VoLTE in 2014
Verizon is looking towards offering smartphones made to run just on a 4G LTE network when it introduces VoLTE. Comments made by Verizon chief network officer Nicki Palmer about the LTE-only smartphones come at the same time as the network effectively completes its initial LTE build-out, and activated 4G LTE in its 500th market.
Palmer commented during a media call that the cost of LTE radios are reducing, allowing for a potentially cheaper phone, but such a project will not be usable until there are enough phones that work with VoLTE in the first place, writes CNET. "We will get this right, our brand is built on reliability," said Palmer, continuing "We will want to go big with this, we're working aggressively now." Verizon already does offer a device with just an LTE connection, but it is the Samsung Galaxy Camera rather than a smartphone.
VoLTE, Voice-over-LTE, has been in testing on Verizon for some time now, with Palmer revealing in the call that it will not be operational until next year. The system allows for voice calls to be transmitted over a data-only LTE connection. Rather than rolling out over various markets slowly, VoLTE will be activated in a large number of markets simultaneously, and will still allow users to make calls and use the Internet at the same time.
The carrier's LTE network, now active in 500 markets, covers over 298 million people across the US, and also covers more than 99-percent of its existing 3G footprint. While LTE through Verizon is available in 49 states, Alaska will join the rest in having LTE service next month.