Just a few days ago, MetroPCS announced that they were rolling out their Voice over LTE (VoLTE) network in the U.S., and the LG Connect 4G would be their first phone to offer the service. Not to be outdone, Samsung has just announced that their new flagship, the Galaxy S III will be the first globally available HD VoLTE device. So, technically, the SGS3 wasn't the first VoLTE device, but their distinction to be the first globally available phone to offer that service is notable.
Regardless, the fact that they are pushing forward with this technology is quite appreciated. How quickly we see this tech develop will depend upon the carriers and how quickly they move to adopt it. While that is the eventual plan for carriers like Verizon, AT&T and others, they will want to control the rate at which it moves to fit their agenda. In the long run, this will do nothing but benefit the profit margins of these companies because it moves cell-phone calls off of the old cellular networks and makes us use up our data limits faster. Because of this, you can probably expect them to move quickly on adopting it.
Obviously this is a bit of a negative, but in the long run, VoLTE will be the wave of the future, and its promise of better and more reliable calls might be worth the growing pains.
Samsung announced that the first international carrier to start offering the service will be South Korea's SK Telecom. Here's a quote below from the Samsung press statement,
Thanks for the tip, Jeffrey!The global leader in digital media and digital convergence technologies is supporting VoLTE with the GALAXY S III LTE model in Korea in August, to be followed by availability in global LTE markets, positioning Samsung at the forefront of the LTE market and mobile communications technology.
VoLTE uses an IP packet-based service for both voice and data, allowing for new multimedia services to be introduced, such as being able to convert from voice call to video call. It also offers more than twice the voice frequency of 3G and HD-level audio codec (AMR-WB), providing high quality voice calls comparable to having a direct conversation with someone in person.
In comparison to a regular mVoIP service, VoLTE does not require the download of an additional app for a calling service. As a result, inconveniences resulting from changes in network environment, such as call connection delay and call misconnections are significantly improved. Unlike previous LTE smartphones that use a 3G network for voice services, VoLTE enabled GALAXY S III LTE shifts the transmission of voice calls from a third generation network to a LTE one, creating a big cost saving.
The new VoLTE enabled GALAXY S III LTE is a result of Samsung’s 20 years of mobile communication technology development and business experience.
GALAXY S III LTE devices can be upgraded to VoLTE services via a software update, without the need for additional communication chips.
Source: S3Forums via Samsung