WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Verizon Communications and AT&T Inc expect to be able to transmit wireless voice calls between the two carriers over high-speed data networks by 2015, the companies said on Monday.
The technology is expected to improve the quality of calls and allow for video calling and voicemail.
The calls would be transmitted using a technology known as Voice over LTE, which repackages voice calls as data and transmits them over carriers’ high-speed data networks.
Carriers currently transmit most voice calls on older 2G networks, while data is sent through high-speed 4G networks.
“Interoperability among all VoLTE providers takes connectivity to the next level with HD quality voice and additional features that customers want,” Tony Melone, chief technology officer at Verizon, said in a statement.
AT&T and T-Mobile began rolling out Voice over LTE in select cities earlier this year. Verizon announced a nationwide launch in September, but customers cannot yet call subscribers on other networks using the technology.
The technology could also allow customers to purchase devices that are not bound to a particular carrier and can easily be transferred to a different network.
“Customers expect to be able to connect anywhere, anytime – and as LTE technology continues to evolve, it’s imperative that we provide a seamless experience between carriers,” Krish Prabhu, president, AT&T Labs and AT&T chief technology officer, said in a statement.
For wireless carriers, Voice over LTE will help them to use their network resources more efficiently by allowing them to dump old voice network infrastructure and free up wireless spectrum currently used for voice calls.
Reporting by Marina Lopes; Editing by Dan Grebler