CNN has reported that Verizon Wireless intends to use its growing LTE network to handle calls as well as data. What does this mean for everyday customers? They'll finally be able to be on a phone call and browse the internet for information they may need for that call. For example, they'll be able to talk to a friend, open the web browser and find movie times for a nearby theater. While this isn't something that would be new to cell phone carriers, it would be something new for Verizon customers, as their current CDMA network can't handle voice and data simultaneously. (AT&T ran ads during Superbowl XLV tweaking Verizon for this lack.)
This change will not be overnight though. Verizon's new VoLTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution) technology will be demoed on the LG Revolution at Mobile World Congress, but the service won't be available until next year. While the Revolution won't launch until mid-year, it won't be released with VoLTE anyway. so VoLTE is not currently available on any phone VZW offers, or has announced they're offering.
And while the CNN piece concentrated on the LG Revolution, Verizon has three other Android smartphones coming this quarter or next that also feature LTE, or 4G, access: the Motorola DROID BIONIC, the HTC Thunderbolt, and Samsung's unnamed LTE device. As of now, none of the phones have launch dates, although one of them should have launched well before the Revolution.
Today we learned of the HTC Thunderbolt delay, which is even more disappointing as we hear of the new VoLTE tech. We had been expecting a February 14th release date for this LTE smartphone, which was also supposed to do voice and data simultaneously over 3G as well. For some reason, Verizon had asked their employees not to mention this fantastic feature when describing smartphone abilities.
More and more manufacturers will be producing LTE phones, so the bigger the Verizon LTE network will get, making LTE more widely available to more Verizon customers. Let us know in comments if you need voice and internet at the same time and how you do or will use it.
With additional reporting by Maddi Hausmann Sojourner