US round-up: Verizon VoLTE launch imminent; MVNOs could get LTE in Q3; Cellular One to close in two states

27 Aug 2014

Verizon Wireless is preparing to unveil its long-rumoured Voice-over-Long Term Evolution (VoLTE) service in the coming weeks. According to CNET, the service will be made available on a nationwide basis. The website quotes Greg Dial, executive director of mobile services for Verizon, as commenting: ‘The tight integration of the video calling feature is also significant. You can launch it right from the dialer. There is no opening a separate app.’ TeleGeography notes that rivals AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile US have already launched VoLTE services, both inaugurating their respective VoLTE capabilities in May, although only T-Mobile currently boasts nationwide VoLTE access.

In unrelated news, Verizon is said to be preparing to give its mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) access to its LTE network in the third quarter of 2014. The development has been reported by Fierce Wireless, which cites people familiar with the matter. Verizon’s MVNOs, which are believed to include TracFone, ReachOut Wireless, GreatCall and BYO Wireless, are currently limited to the mobile giant’s CDMA-based network.

According to Fierce Wireless, regional operator Cellular One is shutting down its service in Montana and Wyoming on 31 August. Cellular One is a brand name that several smaller carriers operate under, although the affected networks are operated by the Montana Public Service Commission. Cellular One customers affected by the shutdown will get a USD100 bill credit if they switch to AT&T; activation fees will be waived.

The team behind existing US MVNO GSM Nation have launched a new Beta MVNO service under the US Mobile brand name. According to MVNO Dynamics, the service piggybacks on the T-Mobile US network, and is being tested at a select group of universities, including Yale, Harvard and Vanderbilt.

United States, Cellular One, Verizon Wireless