Hang in there, Sprint customers, Voice-over-LTE is coming … eventually.
In a Friday “ask me anything” session on Reddit, Sprint COO Gunther Ottendorfer said the carrier is “on a path toward having an all IP-based network capable of supporting VoLTE” but noted no timeline for a potential launch has yet been put into place.
While the other major U.S. carriers have launched VoLTE services, Ottendorfer said Sprint currently offers HD Voice on its CDMA1x platform. According to Ottendorfer, Sprint is planning to move to an IP-based network for VoLTE, but won’t transition customers “until we can match the great voice experience provided today.”
But in the run up to the launch, Ottendorfer said Sprint will leverage the expertise of parent company SoftBank, which began deploying VoLTE in Japan last year. Additionally, Ottendorfer said Sprint currently uses a mix of codecs in devices today and “fully intend to support industry standard HD codecs when we launch VoLTE.”
During the AMA, other Redditors noted that while Sprint offers HD Voice and Wi-Fi calling, the features appear to be incompatible on many devices. Several users complained that they have to turn off Wi-Fi calling off in order to use HD voice, but Ottendorfer said a solution is on the way.
“We are looking at adding HD voice to our Wi-Fi calling next year,” he said.
One other interesting tidbit to come out of the AMA was related to carrier aggregation.
While Sprint has been vocal about its use of intra-band carrier aggregation on its 2.5 GHz spectrum, Ottendorfer said the carrier has more carrier aggregation news up its sleeve and it involves 800 MHz spectrum.
“Let me share with you and our friends here a little secret: In some markets we are already testing band 25 CA. Good news – many of our devices are already capable. Stay tuned. More to come next year,” Ottendorfer hinted.