22
May
TMobile-Thumb

T-Mobile is ready to pull the metaphorical VoLTE lever marked Seattle, giving the city early access to the upgraded infrastructure the carrier hopes to roll out to more parts of the country over the course of the year. This voice over LTE connection will allow consumers to use voice and data at the same time, as voice calls will go out over IP on LTE rather than taking the current switched-circuit path approach.

Seattle

Three devices will access T-Mobile VoLTE before any others, and these are the G Flex, the Galaxy Light, and the Galaxy Note 3. OTA updates are rolling out now that is turning this functionality on for people in the Seattle area. People not in said corner of Washington can still install it via Kies, but it won't do anything. Still, when has that stopped anyone? These are updates, guys. Have at them.

T-Mobile Brings Voice over LTE to Seattle

Neville Ray, Chief Technology Officer
May 22, 2014

Call me old-school, but I still enjoy an old-fashioned conversation from time to time. While people today typically spend more time texting, instant messaging and emailing than talking on their phones, there’s nothing like a human voice to make the connection real for me.

So I’m thrilled to congratulate my team on the launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the Seattle area for our existing LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light customers. Our friends at MetroPCS were the first to launch VoLTE in the U.S. back in 2012, and we’ve been working hard on a LTE Advanced version of VoLTE, which we plan to roll out to more T-Mobile customers throughout the coming year.

VoLTE is the next major advancement in LTE and essentially brings both data and voice onto the same radio layer, as it should be. Customer benefits include faster call setup times (almost twice as fast as a non-VoLTE call setup) and the ability to enjoy lightening fast LTE data speeds while on a call. HD Voice service is also included with VoLTE. We've been offering nationwide HD Voice since January 2013 - something our competitors couldn't do without VoLTE.

If you’re like me and love digging into the underlying science, here’s how it works. (If this doesn’t interest you, feel free to skip this bit.) VoLTE calls will be carried over IP on our LTE network instead of a circuit-switched path on our 4G HSPA+ network. This is advantageous because your phone stays on our wicked fast LTE network to make a call. The tricky bit in all this is the smooth mobility between our various radio layers. Enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (eSRVCC) is a new LTE Advanced function and we’re excited to be the first to deploy it in the U.S. All of this basically helps ensure that your capable phone won’t drop a call if you leave an LTE area and it switches to 4G HSPA+ or 2G coverage.

To experience VoLTE, existing LG G Flex and Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light customers in Seattle just need to go into device “Settings,” “General” and “About device” to get the latest Software Update.

T-Mobile’s Voice over LTE is just one of the many ways our customers are benefiting from our ongoing multi-billion dollar network modernization – along with ever-faster data speeds on America’s fastest nationwide 4G LTE network, and truly unlimited talk, text and data on our wide-open nationwide network.

And, though VoLTE offers benefits today, the future benefits to customers are expected to be even greater. Launching VoLTE is our first step toward a host of rich communication services and additional innovations around Wi-Fi calling that we’re looking to deliver to our customers over the coming months.

T-Mobile’s engineering team is working tirelessly to launch VoLTE in additional cities and with more devices while continuing to build out T-Mobile’s Wideband LTE, delivering the fastest nationwide LTE network.

I’m incredibly excited about our VoLTE roll-out, and I can’t wait to get this and other network enhancements into our customers’ hands.

T-Mobile updates: G Flex, Galaxy Light, and Galaxy Note 3  

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • remister

    Go Tmobile go!
    Hopefully, by the time VOLTE comes to LA, i will have a new phone that supports it.

  • KlausWillSeeYouNow

    Just in time! Beat AT&T by one day :-)

  • TSON1

    ....Did they really spell lightning wrong in a press release?

    • NinoBr0wn

      ....Because misspellings never hapen.

  • http://www.twitter.com/joshuaworth Joshua Worth

    Will the Nexus 5 ever be compatible?

    • Michael J Carroll

      I would doubt it because most N5s are bought from Google, so they don't have TMo software.

      • asdff

        Google definitely gives patches for carrier specific things. This one is a BFD so it will come from google for sure

    • Drago

      Android 4.4.3 is supposed to bring Spark for Sprint to the Nexus 5. I'm Google could do the same for VoLTE for T-Mobile.

      I mean I'm only guessing here, but it seems plausible to me. Cheers.

      • Carmen Stewart

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      • SprintBlows

        I'm sick of sprint. They are a bunch of lying crooks. I cannot wait to get off of them. My service is always slow, even with full 4G LTE signal. I complain to them on twitter, they always say, "oh we see the issue, we will notify our techs"

        They say this to me at least once maybe twice a month. I'm always tweeting them. They obviously do not send techs out to the tower. I asked what is the range of the tower, they said for the towers next to me, it should be 4 miles. I live like a quarter mile away from it, and reception is horrible.

        I honestly do not understand how this company is still in business.

  • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

    Upon careful investigation, a flashlight.

    • Brian Utne

      I want my flashlight to run Kit Kat :(

  • Xyor

    Eh, I'm not sure how, but I was using a M8 and had a phone call with Nexus 5, the phone stayed in LTE network with a HD mark on the right lower corner. Does it mean s that both m8 and nexus 5 are compatible?

    • KingofPing

      I believe that's HD Voice and not VoLTE.

      • Xyor

        But the date icon stayed in 4g lte

        • KingofPing

          It would. LTE works just fine while on a call. :)

          • Xyor

            But I thought that HD voice is only possible in VoLTE

          • Kidney_Thief

            It's also possible over HSPA.

          • ProductFRED

            Nope. On T-Mobile, it works over 4G/HSPA+ as long as the other person is on T-Mobile with an HD Voice capable phone (as far back as the HTC One S).

          • Guest

            Actually, LTE drops to HSPA+ during a call on T-Mobile. (at least until VoLTE)

  • Croatian

    I've been waiting for T-Mobile to deliver WiFi calling capability to all of their customers and not just to select few that have the "right equipment". If this brief mention is what I think it is (the part about the WiFi calling only) then I'll be damn... IT WAS ABOUT A BLOODY TIME ALREADY!!!! Right now, if you want to enjoy WiFi calling you have to buy specially branded T-Mobile phones manufactured by HTC or Samsung. Those of us with Nexus 4 devices, for example, are SOoL. Last year I've sent an email to good old Johnny boy asking him to do something about it, I guess it worked ;-)

    • ProductFRED

      It's because it has to be built into the device framework, not because they were being jerks about it. It's beyond their control. You would have to flash a T-Mobile ROM to get it to work (did it to my old AT&T S4).

    • JG

      Thanks for drawing my attention to the Wi-Fi calling comment. I skipped over the official blurb at first.

      I'm hoping these new innovations will enable T-Mobile to expand their Wi-Fi calling feature to other devices. I'm looking at probably switching over from Verizon later this summer and am going to go for either a Moto X+1 or a GPE M8 or maybe GS4 (I like having an SD card too much to go full Nexus). I get these devices are shipped essentially pure AOSP, and I highly respect T-Mobile for keeping them that way (unlike what Verizon did to the GNex), but I would really love WiFi calling abilities. Unlike other bloat added to most phones (cough NFL 2014, or Blockbuster /cough) I at least, think it would benefit most users and personally would be fine if it means delaying new Android updates by a few weeks... It'd still be better than the 6 months I had to wait to go from 2.2 to 2.3...

      If possible, I'd kind of like to see it extracted and packaged as an app on the Play Store. It would make updating the service easier, and anyone with a T-Mobile phone could download it regardless if they were on an AOSP pure or a bloated device. Either that or maybe an official custom ROM identical to the OEM ROM, but with WiFi calling added....

  • ProductFRED

    Very low-end Samsung device. Basically the Galaxy S3 Mini for T-Mobile.

  • MeCampbell30

    Wow that's a really beautiful picture of Seattle.

  • Matthew Fry

    I've never seen this HD voice thing. Is there something special I need to do for that?

    • Andrés

      No, your phone should already have the codecs. I've listened the difference first hand and you will be amazed how big it is.

  • topgun966

    Is it just me, or is this not that big of a deal for Tmo and ATT? Sprint and Verizon yes. With GSM, HPSA+ still functions while on a call. just LTE cuts out. Not seeing a big deal to have LTE on while I am on a call.

    • Evan Anderson

      It's the natural progression of wireless networks. Eventually all carriers will have LTE only networks.

  • Richard W

    I used the Galaxy Light with groove ip VOIP app over T-mobile LTE network last year and it was amazing! no skipping, delay or studder during voip calls.

  • Jeffrey Fazal

    My
    city looks so pretty in this picture. Well, I have experienced this new
    technology that is voice over LTE connection and it really works well. I can
    attend a call while transferring a file and both processes works simultaneously
    without any interruption. The only thing is the battery of my phone get drained
    soon but that’s not an issue as I recently installed a qi car charger to keep
    my device fully charged even while travelling on the city roads.

  • dontpanicbobby

    I live in Boston MA and I was getting VoLTE calls starting back in December 2013. I didn't have to install anything on my Note 3 to get them. Do I have some kind of mutant device or was this part of some t-mobile OTA update?