While pal Doug Mohney is on hiatus from HD Voice News, I figured I'd fill the gap on the news that broke over the past day of so surrounding Verizon and HD Voice and Video (official announcement) that another pal, Kevin Tofel wrote about at Gigaom.
To me, the move by VZW is a catchup play. T-Mobile acquired MetroPCS which was the first to offer HD voice but reading the number of "requirements" for what Verizon Wireless is offering leave me wondering if we're really anywhere yet:
HD Voice and Video Calling work only when both people are in the Verizon 4G LTE coverage area and are using VoLTE-enabled smartphones from Verizon
Those three requirements-in the LTE footprint, using a VoLTE phone and being on Verizon remind me when SMS between mobile operators didn't exist. This means a T-Mobile, AT&T, Truphone, Sprint or any other operator's customer calling someone on another network using the same phone with VoLTE/HD capabilities, on a network which enables HD Voice and Video to work, won't have a call of higher quality.
This all gets into the lack of true peering, interoperability and only adds to the inconsistency between carriers and the lip service standards are really give. Next issue is how already existing HD Voice based conferencing services like Voxeet, UberConference, ZIPDX, Calliflower, GoToMeeting, etc, which already have "HD" quality calling via their apps or WebRTC will be handled. Nowhere have i seen of any real interconnectivity despite Eli Katz's XConnect has had an HDVoice interconnect around for years.
To me, true HD voice and video won't be here until it's as transparent and fully functional as SMS is on delivery but just like iMessage and WhatsApp have outmoded the mobile operators. Today, we have Skype but given how easy it is to deprecate service quality between operators and networks, without the FCC stepping in and making sure quality won't be disrupted.,
This also raises issues in my mind around Net Neutrality, here in the USA at least, a topic that long time friend, Craig Walker opinied about in the Wall Street Journal this past Sunday. To that end, my question is given how landlines/wireline connectivity is being deprecated by the telcos in favor of wireless, why isn't the doctrine of Equal Access from the 80's where any long distance carrier was to have the ability to deliver LD while the Regional Bell Operating Company provided the connectivity to the premise being applied to mobile?
SideNote-->When you think about it, Walker's prior company, GrandCentral, really was the first alternative Long Distance provider for mobile which was a disguied as a Find Me, Follow Me service, but really only works easily on Android devices with the ALD model really become integrated, and that's at the device level, not in the network. And, we all know that the network is really where Google is going with things, but that example demonstrates why apps contriol the smarts of the network, while the operators in the middle remain "dumb pipes."