updated 11:25 am EST, Mon February 14, 2011
We test Verizon LTE voice calling at MWC
Verizon promised that it would show 4G calling on phones at Mobile World Congress, and the carrier had a quick demo to let listeners hear the difference with the VoLTE (Voice over LTE) standard it's using. Read ahead for Electronista's quick take.
The company had a live LTE connection running to make the link and was using the LG Revolution on both ends, so so the process was similar regardless of which end we used. There's no notable distinction between making a 4G call and using CDMA (or, if this were on a different network, 3G). We had to pick which phone service to use to start a call, but that should go away in the future and isn't shown on the other end.
The audio quality itself is superb relative to a regular cellphone call. It won't be mistaken for a person being in the same room, as there's still a "processed" sound to the voice, but there's no muffling at all and none of the other artifacts of a traditional cellular network. We'd expect this from VoIP, and it sounds as good as a Skype call minus the usual echoes and other similar effects.
We're hopeful that 4G voice could finally give users voice calls as pure VoIP like Skype, and Verizon is getting there so far. Look for the service to hit Verizon in 2012 once the company moves past the LTE standard's draft spec. Other carriers are likely to hop onboard, and we could for the first time see call quality at a similarly high level on AT&T and Verizon.