News by Andrew Kameka on Thursday May 15, 2014.
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AT&T has announced that it will begin offering enhanced call quality through Voice over LTE (VoLTE) next week. AT&T's HD Voice will launch May 23 as the company begins testing an all-IP solution that will route calls over its 4G LTE network, but only a very select group of people will be able to use the system at first. VoLTE will require that someone be in certain markets in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
The scope of potential users will be further limited because the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini is the only device currently able to use VoLTE. AT&T says it will update more devices to be compatible soon, with Galaxy devices likely to be the first in the next wave of updates. The network also promises to increase its coverage area in the future as well. AT&T previously said that it's LTE network is primed for launching HD Voice despite the growing traffic demands of users, but delays have so far kept the launch to just a handful of cities in the midwest being equipped next week.
MetroPCS became the first US carrier to route voice calls through its LTE network in 2012 but hasn't made it universal since its merger with T-Mobile took place. Verizon's hope to have VoLTE ready by early 2014 didn't pan out, but the carrier now aims to launch by mid-2014. Sprint has launched HD Voice on its network in 100 markets and aims to deliver coverage nationwide by July.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.