MetroPCS has been forced to delay its launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) until the second half of this year, having missed its original target of a functioning service in Q1 2012. Ed Chao, senior vice president of engineering and network operations did not give any specific reasons for the postponement when he confirmed the slipped schedule to FierceBroadbandWireless, but the carrier is expected to have at least one VoLTE device on the market before the year is out.
MetroPCS had initially committed to VoLTE roll-out early this year, telling investors back in mid-2011 that it planned to have the VoIP over 4G service operational by the end of March. The shift was billed as a way to empty out the legacy CDMA network and transition over entirely to 4G service, allowing MetroPCS to reuse that spectrum for the faster technology.
"If you keep voice on CDMA and data only on LTE, which is kind of what we're doing today before VoLTE, you're not able to refarm" Chao said, reaffirming that doing so was MetroPCS' intention. "So, for us, it's extremely important to have VoLTE so we can get that traffic off of CDMA and get ourselves refarmed fully to LTE."
MetroPCS will also eventually use carrier aggregation, taking advantage of its 1.9GHz and 1.7/2.1GHz AWS holdings. "Over time we'd love to carrier aggregate over both of those bands at the very least," Chao said, though the carrier is yet to officially announce any roadmap for that to happen.