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Verizon LTE Means Long-Awaited Shift to 100 Percent VoIP Will Happen

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May 27, 2010

Verizon LTE Means Long-Awaited Shift to 100 Percent VoIP Will Happen

By Gary Kim, Contributing Editor

Verizon (News - Alert) Wireless might be the first major U.S. telecom provider to shift all its users from legacy voice to VoIP by 2012, at least for users of its new LTE (News - Alert) network.

"By 2012 the voice we sell on LTE will be VoIP," Lowell McAdam, Verizon Wireless CEO, was recently quoted as saying. For the most part, cable operators already do so. A full shift to VoIP will take quite some time, though, most likely a decade or more, as most users will remain on the 3G network for some time.

Verizon Wireless also is betting it can stimulate production of a sufficient number of handsets to replicate at least some of the choice consumers have come to expect for devices on the 3G networks.

That will be important, given the scant success TeliaSonera (News - Alert) has had with sales of service on its LTE network when all users can buy is data dongles for their PCs. In fact, a limited handset selection is one reason AT&T (News - Alert) believes the LTE network can be delayed for a year or two.

That isn't to say the concern is unjustified. Verizon has said it may launch as many as five LTE phones by May 2011. But that's a far cry from the score or more that typically are available on a 3G network.

Verizon has seen consistent throughput in the 8 Mbps to 12 Mbps range, though most tests likely have peak rates in the low to mid 20-Mbps range. Commercial LTE speeds will be better than 7 Mbps, Verizon therefore says.

Verizon also may be the first service provider to introduce the equivalent of a family plan for mobile services, allowing use of five to six broadband-capable devices on a single account, much as voice plans now allow five or so members of a single household to share a single bucket of minutes and text messages.

The general concept is that users will purchase buckets of broadband usage as they buy buckets of voice or text messages.

Gary Kim (News - Alert) is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Gary's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Marisa Torrieri

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