AT&T and Verizon Wireless get themselves connected

Interconnecting networks between mobile operators offers many benefits to customers such as interoperable VoLTE (voice over LTE) calls with HD Voice quality as well as interoperable Rich Communications Services (RCS). It works by using all-IP (Internet Protocol) technology, which lets consumers connect and make rich and reliable calls with their contacts across networks. So we were delighted to hear about the decision of US operators AT&T and Verizon Wireless to interconnect their networks and make VoLTE HD Voice available to their customer bases next year with a view to introducing other services beyond VoLTE such as video calls and rich messaging in the future as well.

This is an important move by both operators because all-IP communications technology will enable customers to reach contacts seamlessly across either network and enhance their calling experience and it should be recognised by other markets as a positive move for the industry. At the GSMA we run the Network 2020 programme which is designed to encourage mobile operators around the world to accelerate the adoption of native IP communication services such as voice and video calling over LTE and enriching these calls with additional services via RCS. Ultimately, our aim is to deliver the ‘Green Button Promise’ by which we mean ubiquitous, reliable and rich IP communication services that just work regardless of device or network.

There have already been 65 LTE operator network launches this year, taking the total to 331 deployments in 112 countries, a figure that is expected to surpass 350 by the end of the year. Additionally, an anticipated 75 combined VoLTE and RCS launches are also expected by early 2015.

The GSMA’s Network 2020 programme works closely with operators around the world to reduce complexity and fragmentation and promote scale and interoperability with the aim of delivering better consumer experiences. This includes driving an all-IP communications agenda to accelerate the adoption of IP communication services for voice and conversational video (VoLTE) and messaging (RCS), ensuring that devices and networks deliver a native, seamless global service.