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Verizon has become the second USA carrier to really get behind VoLTE as the way voice will be handled on their LTE network following the early lead moves taken by MetroPCS long before they were acquired by T-Mobile earlier this year, reports GigaOm's Kevin Fitchard.
As usually, AT&T would rather someone else work out the kinks in the concept, but what's got to be a very bold move is VZW is not going to offer circuit switched fallback, meaning they plan to build out the LTE network across more parts of the USA in order to map their VoLTE coverage to their current 2G voice network. This is also a massive opportunity for OTT and UTF (over the top and under the floor) players as well as those who will be investing into WebRTC and other voice, video and collaboration services as this will mean the network will be stable enough to really support moving voice traffic.
Now, here's the hitch. If VZW does what I think they will do, only their own voice traffic will get the benefit of the network architecture, while the OTT players simply get best efforts--but, I think this leads the way to something more impactful down the road. Just as we have BYOD in devices, we'll see BYOC (bring your own carrier) in my view is we will have OPEN ACCESS just like we did at the breakup of the Bell System. That was where your local RBOC had to provide you with access to any LONG DISTANCE carrier of your choice. That sparked nothing but competition and really fueled the growth of the telecom industry. If the FCC, or the DoJ, force, order or cajole the mobile operators into allowing a customer to bring along any compatible voice, video or collaboration provider and they must provide the same quality of service and access to all.
If one views spectrum and airwaves as pipe like the telephone networks of old, then the logical arguement is that the LTE spectrum gets approached the same way, because your cell phone remains the only phone network where you can't choose your own voice provider for long distance or international calling as your phone is really locked to the carrier.