Recent job listings at Apple suggest that the company is moving full speed ahead with incorporating VoLTE in future devices. With the upcoming unveiling of the iPhone (News - Alert) 6 on Sept. 9, speculation about whether or not the new device will support VoLTE is on the rise.
According to Dan Jones, Apple seeks a cellular systems protocol engineer specifically with VoLTE and IMS experience. Other positions seek engineers with experience in technologies related to VoLTE, like SIP and adaptive multi-rate wideband (AMR-WB).
It’s a matter of time before VoLTE becomes commonplace in the U.S. T-Mobile already has it available on a widespread basis across its network; AT&T (News - Alert) has it installed in a few states and Verizon plans to add it to its network towards the end of the year.
The implications of the technology are profound, because it will allow simultaneous voice and data transmission on the same call. This means not only will there be more video calls and chats, but they will also have better audio and video quality than previous technologies.
Does this mean that the iPhone6 will support VoLTE? So far, Apple (News - Alert) is keeping quiet on the matter. With the iPhone unveiling less than a month away, there’s not enough time for a new engineering team (assuming they were all hired by now) to add hardware support for VoLTE. It would be possible however, to add VoLTE support through software updates in the future, which might explain Apple’s silence.
While a VoLTE enabled iPhone6 would be a huge announcement it may also be the technical equivalent of being all dressed up with no place to go. According to PCWorld’s Stephen Lawson, Verizon (News - Alert) has had challenges with VoLTE. It found that if both callers initiate a VoLTE call and one caller later goes into a 3G-only area, the call is dropped.
T-Mobile (News - Alert) has a solution that prevents such a call from being dropped, but that doesn’t address the problem of infrastructure. All the VoLTE-ready phones and workarounds like T-Mobile’s don’t mean much if the technology is not available nearly everywhere. A complete rollout is still several years away.
Edited by Alisen Downey