Apple Job Postings Point Towards Continued Work on Voice Over LTE

Several new job listings suggest Apple is continuing to work on building support for Voice Over LTE (VoLTE) into its line of mobile devices. VoLTE is designed to allow carriers to send voice calls over LTE networks, right alongside data. On the consumer end, this results in higher quality voice calls and faster call connection times.

Subscribers on CDMA networks (Sprint and Verizon) will further benefit from VoLTE, as it allows the simultaneous use of data and voice, something that's not currently possible.

volteverizon
First discovered by LightReading (via Gigaom) job openings at Apple include Cellular Systems Protocol Engineer and Senior Baseband Audio Engineer. The protocol engineer position requires hands-on experience with VoLTE, among other wireless technologies, while the senior position also asks for experience with the VoLTE specification. Several additional positions also ask for experience with Session Initiation Protocol, which is essential for creating a connection between devices and LTE networks.

The company is currently advertising for a cellular systems protocol engineer, calling for experience with "VoLTE" and "IMS." Other positions are calling for experience with the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) protocol. [...]

Apple is also looking for a senior baseband engineer to work on "cutting-edge" audio for its devices, which will include the Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) speech compression codec, which is part of the VoLTE specification. The engineer will help to "implement, port, and deploy AMR-WB, AMR-NB, CELP, EVRC-B, EVRC, EVS Vocoders, and Jitter Buffers on Mobile devices," according to the ad.

VoLTE is in the early stages of a rollout, with a full implementation hinging on support from both carriers and device makers. In the U.S., carriers have already begun exploring and investing in VoLTE technology. Earlier this year, Verizon Wireless announced plans to roll out Voice Over LTE in 2014, promising "an HD Voice experience."

AT&T and T-Mobile have also announced support for VoLTE on a limited number of devices and in a limited number of markets, also promising higher quality calls. VoLTE is also picking up steam in other countries around the world, with several global carriers now offering support for the technology.

While Apple is posting new job listings related to VoLTE, it is likely the company has been working on the technology for some time, in response to a carrier shift towards VoLTE. Previous reports from 9to5Mac have suggested that Apple may enable support for VoLTE alongside the launch of iOS 8, with support built into the iPhone 6.

Because the Qualcomm LTE chips used in Apple devices since the iPhone 5 natively support voice, it is also possible that existing devices, in addition to the iPhone 6, will be able to offer support for VoLTE following a software update. It does, however, remain unclear if this is a feature that will roll out immediately with the launch of iOS 8 or in a future iOS 8 update in late 2014 or early 2015.

Top Rated Comments

Padmini Avatar
108 months ago
VoLTE is a big deal. Maybe not right now, but in a few years it is part of a major transition.

Eventually our phones will have 1 cellular radio, just for Data, and all device communication will travel over it. What this will mean is that you will no longer pay for "minutes" you'll simply pay for data. With that, the plans you subscribe to will be simpler and will be balanced out a little so as to allot more data/per dollar.

Voice will be high quality (think of FaceTime audio as it is now), plans will be simpler, and devices will have less 1 less radio to accommodate.

----------

It eats data but its not counted. Thats how the carrier would handle there calls. Everyone will be doing VoLTE as there LTE networks expand.

Going forward, we'll see if its "counted" or not. Like i mention above, one day you won't pay for minutes, just data, and all of the devices data consumption will likely count.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jmcrutch Avatar
108 months ago
VoLTE is a big deal. Maybe not right now, but in a few years it is part of a major transition.

Eventually our phones will have 1 cellular radio, just for Data, and all device communication will travel over it. What this will mean is that you will no longer pay for "minutes" you'll simply pay for data. With that, the plans you subscribe to will be simpler and will be balanced out a little so as to allot more data/per dollar.

Voice will be high quality (think of FaceTime audio as it is now), plans will be simpler, and devices will have less 1 less radio to accommodate.

----------



Going forward, we'll see if its "counted" or not. Like i mention above, one day you won't pay for minutes, just data, and all of the devices data consumption will likely count.

And yet I doubt my overall bill will go down.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RPV69 Avatar
108 months ago
Hi guys. I can answer some of the questions posed here re VoLTE. I'm a senior network designer for one of the UK mobile operators and I've been working on VoLTE network designs for the past 18 months or so. In a nutshell, LTE aka 4G doesn't have a native voice service. IMS (IP Mobile Subsystem) has become the defacto standard for providing a voice service over LTE. If a mobile telco deploys an LTE network without an IMS, they will use something called CSFB (Circuit Switched Fall Back). This basically relies on 3G or 2G coverage for the voice call. Your data will be on LTE but your voice will be on 3G or 2G. With IMS, the voice service runs on top of LTE. No 3G or 2G coverage is needed. IMS isn't just about voice. The network operator deploys an IMS core along with application servers. Those servers will typically provide the voice and SMS services we're all used to on a cellular network. The cool thing about an IMS is that application servers can be added at any time to provide new services. This will probably include services which haven't even been dreamed up when the IMS is first deployed. VoLTE functions in a completely different way to 3G and 2G voice networks. The signalling is based on SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) which looks a lot like HTTP. Telcos will still be running 2G and 3G networks for a long time due to legacy handsets, but LTE, IMS and VoLTE are where things are headed. One other thing. You'll still be billed for voice in the same way. The voice traffic is carried in IP packets but it's still classed as voice not data. So you'll still see the familiar tariffs of voice minutes plus megabytes per month. Hope this info is useful.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Tech198 Avatar
108 months ago
Carriers will support it. The reason is that LTE is far more spectrum efficient than previous technologies. Eventually, they will be able to retire previous technologies such as GSM, CDMA and UTMS and convert that spectrum over to LTE, where they get much more bang for the buck (in terms of the amount of data that can be moved over a given quantity of spectrum).

Additionally, having voice come over IP will allow them to exchange VoIP traffic with other carriers via peering agreements (essentially free on a marginal basis) rather than routing over the PSTN, where they incur connection costs. This is direction cable companies have taken with their voice product, as well as next generation telco offerings (for instance, my Verizon FiOS landline is VoIP for this reason, despite being offered by a traditional telco).
You reckon ? I can't see mobile carrier partening with Voip companies in any shape or form for free, or next to nothing data costs.

why would they ?

Mobile carriers are raking it in now, why would they wanna give that up... Apart from being its the biggest reason why they get their money from all of this. It is was allot cheaper, free, them mobile carriers would loose money, and that would basically mean PSTN call costs would sky rocket in terms of charges, since they would need to find other way to get 'rich'

I user Voip over 3g now, and its cheaper, not free by any means, but i'll always continue using it as long as i have data, because its expensive as hell if u use allot

Voice over LTE would be basically like "We will charge you more because we have higher quality, an dyou can do more" Basically, the more premium.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xero9 Avatar
108 months ago
I'm one of the lucky few that still has a grandfathered unlimited plant with AT&T.

What kind of plant? Did they give it to you free with your phone? Would be cool if it grew fruit or vegetables. Would be nice having unlimited plants.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
dlewis23 Avatar
108 months ago
doesnt that eat up your data (for those not on unlimited plans)?
It eats data but its not counted. Thats how the carrier would handle there calls. Everyone will be doing VoLTE as there LTE networks expand.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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