The Nexus Line and VoLTE...Why it Matters
I know some are still having a hissy fit about the Nexus 4 not having LTE, but hey it is what it is and we will get over it. However it is the move that Google had to make because Google has a plan under it's sleaves it has been working on since Verizon bought all that tasty LTE Spectrum
First lets talk about LTE
Verizon won the C Block spectrum in March of 2008, bringing the rise of LTE and crazy data speeds on are mobile devices. Everyone was like Google might get into the mobile business as they were bidding on the Spectrum, when in all reality they were setting the reserve price to ensure Open-Access to that block of Spectrum. Verizon won, we have LTE, and the rest is history.
So What Happened to Open Access?
Open Access is still a provision. Which is probably the reason Verizon never really came after folks who rooted their phones and used wireless tethering apps. They were actually fined for trying to block these apps in the Play Store, so the Open Access provisions are alive and kicking. This makes some people wonder why is this a problem then? Because Verizon still uses CDMA for voice services. They basically have an hybrid LTE CDMA model. So in turn they are still allowed to lock down their phones due to the need of CDMA. Updates for the Galaxy Nexus is more of an issue because VZW requires all this rigorous testing for their CDMA network, not necessarily the LTE network.
VoLTE is basically Voice carried over your data connection. For Verizon it means it will not have to provide both a LTE and CDMA chip in their phones. Phones will only need a LTE chip and in theory, you will no longer need a voice plan because everything including voice calls are transferred over data. It also means the Open-Access rules are now in full effect, so Verizon cannot lock down phones on the basis of it still needing a CDMA chip. LTE is currently being trialed by Verizon in select cities with plans for Nationwide roll out in 2013.
What it Means for Google and Nexus
Google's Nexus line will easily be able to do a unlocked LTE version for Verizon due to the Open-Access provisions which went into effect purely based on Google's huge opening bid in 2008. With no CDMA, Verizon will no longer have control because of those provisions enforced by the FCC. I'm sure Google wanted to work with Verizon, but they also new that soon Verizon will have no choice. Once VoLTE goes nation wide, expect an unlocked LTE Nexus using this technology, probably priced about $100 more than the GSM version.
All this matters because VoLTE is the future of mobile phones. I think we will soon start seeing purely data plans being available for users to use with both Voice and Data. Google though has done something smart. They have set the price for a high quality unlocked device, and they have set that price low. I imagine a the next Nexus will support VoLTE on Verizon, it will be unlocked, and will cost $400 compared to an unlocked GSM version for $350, as LTE licensing cost a lot more. This will also allow Google to build the device as they want to with Updates coming directly from Google and Carriers being removed completely from the process
So I see these things happening within the Mobile world in the nest 2 years
- VoLTE going live nationwide within a year
- Unlimited Data Plans making their way back
- Unlocked Better priced Contract Free Mobile devices. No more $650 Off contract phones
- More competition, with more and more customers becoming month to month non contract users
So yes I was besides myself about Josh's review, and I do wish that Google had a LTE Nexus available, but Google is working on something and I think next year we will see the beginning of a change to the mobile industry for the better. So just Chillax, the time of carriers forcing their hand will soon come to an end.