Customers would reap "enormous benefits" if carriers were to adopt the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) standard for Long-Term Evolution (LTE) voice transport, Verizon Wireless CTO Tony Melone said last week at the LTE Americas Conference 2009 in Dallas.
"This solution will do for roaming what inter-carrier SMS did for text messaging," Melone said. "Ubiquity is key for communication services, and more so than ever, ubiquity means global."
His comments came just as Verizon Wireless -- along with five other wireless operators and six vendors from across the globe -- gave its blessing for the IMS standard for LTE voice and Short Message Service (SMS) transport to the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the telecom association that will ratify LTE standards. Carriers on the list included AT&T, Orange, Telefonica, TeliaSonera and Vodafone.
Verizon Wireless spokesman Jeffrey Nelson said the ratification of the IMS standard for LTE voice is unlikely to have any major impact on the carrier's 4G deployment, expected to take place in 25 markets next year and nationwide by 2013.
"The standard process is clearly moving along, and there's no reason for this to be episodic or turn-by-turn," Nelson said. "There's plenty of flexibility built within our build schedule to accommodate any fine tuning in the standards process."
AT&T spokeswoman Jenny Bridges said the carrier, which will begin field testing LTE in 2010, has planned its 4G build-out "to best match the technology and relevant standards" as it moves to begin commercial deployment in 2011.
"The standards developed by the One Voice group will ensure a standard, globally interoperable voice and SMS solution for building out LTE networks, helping to avoid fragmentation due to multiple proprietary voice variants," Bridges wrote in a statement.
"In the meantime," she added, "we plan to differentiate in one way by deploying HSPA 7.2, which will provide a substantial speed boost for 3G customers over the next two years and will continue to serve as a critical mobile broadband link over the next several years as LTE grows to scale."
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