If your smartphone and mobile network support voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls, you're probably aware of how much better and clearer they sound than regular old phone calls. More and more devices now support VoLTE, though it's by no means a certainty that every call you place will utilize it; most still don't. But T-Mobile today announced that it's already moving forward with what's next: Enhanced Voice Services, or EVS. "EVS is a true next-gen voice technology that delivers some incredibly cool benefits to our customers and I’d bet that we’re the first in the nation, if not the world, to deploy it," Neville Ray, T-Mobile's CTO, wrote in a blog post. "We never stop innovating and improving the network experience."
You'll hear better voice quality even when calling different networks
So what does EVS offer that sets it above HD Voice calls? For one, Ray says that it improves reliability of voice calls on the LTE network in areas of weak signal, so you're less likely to be disconnected from a conversation if reception is poor. Second, T-Mobile claims it expands upon and improves the already excellent fidelity of VoLTE calls. "EVS does this with a broader audio frequency range, which translates to richer, more realistic-sounding voice audio," Ray said. But the third aspect is probably the most interesting for T-Mobile customers: according to the Uncarrier, EVS works regardless of whether the network you're calling supports HD / VoLTE calling or not. A T-Mobile spokesperson broke it down this way:
When a T-Mobile customer using an EVS-capable phone makes a call — even to a non-HD network — they’ll still get enhanced voice quality on the call. The person on the non-HD network won’t. This is because the EVS "codec" (the way the audio is stored and transferred) captures a much broader audio frequency range that translates into a richer, more realistic-sounding voice audio.
T-Mobile is kicking off this EVS launch by implementing the technology with three brand new smartphones: LG's G5, and Samsung's Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge. The G5 supports EVS out of the box, and Samsung's phones have both received firmware updates this week that enable the functionality.
As always, T-Mobile can't resist trying to shame its rivals while talking up its own progress. "And the carriers? Today, they’re just beginning to work with VoLTE. And I assure you, they’ll deploy the technology like the tired old telecoms they are," Ray said. "You’ll never catch my team resting. We’re continuing to push the LTE network as far as it can go." EVS is launching nationwide (and across all of T-Mobile's network) effective today, so long as you own one of those phones. The company aims to have EVS on a total of seven phones by the end of 2016.