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Major cellular carriers, handset vendors and infrastructure makers worldwide agreed on a second international standard to add voice calling and SMS text messaging to the 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) cellular-data standard, which uses the IP to deliver high-speed data.
A voice-over-LTE standard would help carriers boost data and voice capacity by migrating consumers from more bandwidth-eating circuit-switched voice technologies to IP-based voice, and it would help guarantee international roaming and interoperability for LTE voice and SMS services.
Twelve telecom companies endorsed the OneVoice Standard, but 21 previously endorsed the competing the VoLGA (Voice over LTE via Generic Access) standard, which VoLGA member Kineto Wireless contended would get wireless carriers “to market faster, at a lower cost, with a richer set of features.”
VoiceOne is based on IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) technology defined by an international group called the 3GPP (Third Generation Partnership Project). IMS would work on broadband wireline and wireless networks, offering real-time voice, real-time video, text, file transfer and sharing of pictures, audio and video clips.
“For those operators who don't need to integrate with a fixed network — the vast majority of operators in the world — they may not want to commit to a massive capital investment for IMS on day one,” said Kineto spokesman Steven Shaw. VoLGA, on the other hand, is designed as “an interim solution for voice over LTE to help operators bridge the gap as they develop a carrier class IMS telephony network.”
“From Kineto's perspective ... the long-term goal for voice over LTE has always been IMS,” Shaw added. “For operators with fixed and mobile networks to integrate, it makes sense.”
The OneVoice announcement, however, illustrated that a final OneVoice standard has a way to go before product can be produced, Shaw claimed. In its announcement, OneVoice said it had developed a “profile” that “defines a minimum mandatory set of features [that] a wireless device and network are required to implement in order to guarantee an interoperable, high-quality IMS-based telephony service over LTE radio access.”
The VoiceOne announcement, Shaw claimed, “highlights that IMS as it exists today is far too complex for anyone to actually build to. The idea of developing a simplified version is a good one … But for operators, if the process to define a simplified version is starting today, it's going to be a long time before there is anything real in the network.”
Although only 12 companies have endorsed the OneVoice standard, they include more carriers than VoLGA's Deutsche Telekom. Carriers endorsing OneVoice are AT&T, Orange, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Verizon and Vodafone. Infrastructure companies endorsing OneVoice are Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Nokia Siemens Networks. Supporting handset vendors are Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson.
VoLGA Forum members are Alcatel-Lucent, carrier Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Ditech Networks, Genband, HTC, Huawei, Kineto Wireless, LG Electronics, Mavenir, Motorola, Nortel, Samsung, Sonus, Starent Networks, Tecore Networks, Ulticom, WiChorus and ZTE.
Verizon plans to launch LTE in its 700MHz spectrum in 25 to 30 markets in 2010 and cover virtually all of its current nationwide 3G footprint with LTE by the end of 2013, the company said.