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MetroPCS mulls use of Voice over LTE for CDMA / GSM roaming

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CDMA carrier MetroPCS is considering using Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology in roaming partnerships with GSM counterparts such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

Cell tower STOCK
Cell tower STOCK

Regional carrier MetroPCS, whose network uses the CDMA standard, is considering initiating roaming partnerships with GSM carriers such as AT&T and T-Mobile, using Voice over LTE (VoLTE) to allow seamless handoff. According to a report from PC Magazine, which cites a presentation by VP for Engineering and Network Operations Ed Chao, MetroPCS is actively seeking roaming partners capable of providing service outside of its 14 core metro areas, which will enjoy 97 percent LTE coverage by October.

As the name suggests, VoLTE uses LTE bandwidth to carry voice calls — MetroPCS became the world's first carrier to support the technology when it launched VoLTE devices earlier this month, narrowly beating Korean firm SK Telecom. As PC Magazine notes, if MetroPCS ended up with an LTE roaming agreement with a GSM carrier and a separate agreement with a more traditional CDMA firm such as Sprint, transfer between the two could be handled dynamically. Back in February, engineers at Qualcomm and Ericsson managed to successfully hand off a connection mid-call, proving that the various technologies are capable of working in harmony.