Verizon Preparing 4G Internet Calling

Verizon is planning to roll out voice and video calls over the fourth-generation wireless data network the carrier started implementing in December. The new network will improve sound quality and allow for voice calling and internet use at the same time, a lacking feature of Verizon's that AT&T has recently been quick to point out. Verizon wants to eventually transfer all traffic to the new 4G network and replace the old network that the carrier has used for more than a decade.

The new internet-calling feature will be titled VoLTE (Voice over LTE). Verizon's current 4G network is called LTE, for Long-Term Evolution. Verizon's first phone to use the new service is LG's Revolution 4G said Brian Higgins, Verizon's executive director for ecosystem development. The phone is set to debut around mid year and will be powered by Android.

The Revolution will have the new VoLTE as its default network and will drop back down to the old network when outside VoLTE coverage. Verizon's 4G network is only covering one-third of the U.S. right now, with plans to expand it to match the carrier's 3G network by 2013. Verizon is planning on unveiling VoLTE at Mobile World Congress next week.

"Eventually, operators are going to want all of their traffic on their LTE and next-generation network, and that includes the voice traffic. They're not ready to do that today because voice services over LTE is more expensive," says Phillip Redman, wireless analyst for Gartner Research. Verizon will probably want to push VoLTE as soon as possible though with the upcoming onslaught of iPhone users to the network.

[Via CNN]