Verizon Wireless announced today that it is preparing to roll out Voice over LTE (VoLTE) support to its millions of subscribers over the next few weeks, just ahead of Apple’s planned release of iOS 8 which is rumored to bring VoLTE support to the iPhone for the first time.
The addition of VoLTE will allow Verizon customers to send and receive voice calls over the faster LTE network, rather than using old technologies like 3G, resulting in high-definition voice calls as well as video.
As part of its VoLTE rollout, Verizon is introducing Advanced Calling 1.0, a new feature that integrates HD voice and video calling directly onto the dialer of your Verizon phone. Similar to Apple’s FaceTime protocol, the feature lets users start a video call with other Verizon customers by tapping their contact to initiate the video chat over LTE.
Even though VoLTE uses your data line to make and receive calls, Verizon says VoLTE calls will count against your minutes, while only VoLTE video calls will count against your data plan.
Apple’s currently lineup of iPhones don’t support VoLTE, despite having chipsets which could support the feature. It’s been rumored that Apple plans to add VoLTE support with iOS 8 to improve call quality.
T-Mobile and AT&T have also announced plans to bring VoLTE support to their networks in the near future. Verizon says the new feature will be activated with a simple software update, but doesn’t name which specific smartphones will support VoLTE when it launches nationwide in September.