AT&T is expecting to have a leg up on its competitors with VoLTE as the carrier ramps up its rollout.
Senior Executive Vice President of AT&T Technology & Operations John Donovan, speaking at the Barclays Global Technology Conference, thought his company will have a “reliability advantage” in the emerging voice call technology.
Donovan’s proclamation comes as AT&T today announced an expansion to its VoLTE and HD Voice availability. The technology is now available in select areas of District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.”
AT&T’s VoLTE reliability from a consumer standpoint will in part rely on the carrier’s recently announced agreement with Verizon to work toward VoLTE interoperability between the two carriers’ subscribers.
VoLTE will become more important as carriers like AT&T progress toward entirely IP-based networks. Donovan couldn’t specify an exact date for AT&T completing its own IP transitions but noted that the carrier still has millions of customers, be they flip phones or M2M applications, on its 2G network. He reiterated the December 2016 sunset date for that network and said wants to jump that spectrum right to LTE.
As of now, as AT&T’s 2015 CapEx forecast falls short of analyst estimates, Donovan said the carrier’s investments are prioritized toward supporting wireless network reliability. Part of that focus is on big cities.
“Increasingly it’s becoming a dense, urban game,” said Donovan, saying AT&T is comfortable with its site numbers and in-building coverage in those metro markets.
Donovan AT&T will use carrier aggregation to increase capacity and also noted that the carrier is “well down the path” with the channel-boosting technology.
Donovan was more reluctant to look ahead to 5G.
“I’m more about making things software-defined than I am about next-genning it,” said Donovan.
AT&T’s move toward a more efficient and cost-effective cloud-based network architecture, dubbed Domain 2.0, today gained new vendor support. The carrier announced Ciena, Cisco and Brocade are joining the Domain 2.0 supplier program.