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Sprint to Begin VoLTE Soft Launch in September

Tim Yu
Sprint 4G Rollout Updates
Thursday, August 2, 2018 - 12:01 PM PDT

It's been a long time coming for Sprint through many trials and tribulations.  Now it's finally here!

S4GRU was able to obtain confirmations that Sprint is finally ready and prepared to enable Voice over LTE (VoLTE) for subscribers to manually opt into in select markets across the country this coming September. See list at the bottom. 

As a refresher here are some of the essential points about VoLTE applicable to Sprint: 

  • Calls placed over VoLTE will have the QOS tag unlike the current Calling Plus configuration on numerous Sprint devices
  • Like Calling Plus, VoLTE will have no fallback to the legacy 1x voice network. Calls will drop if the LTE signal drops
  • The voice codec is AMR-WB which one can experience with Calling Plus calls and matches the other carriers VoLTE setups. 

At this point and time S4GRU does not have a list of compatible VoLTE devices though we do speculate that any device currently running Calling Plus should be able to tap into that very same IMS core Calling Plus utilizes via true VoLTE. In addition, recent Apple iPhone's seems like a sure bet as some users have already experienced VoLTE in live field tests conducted by Sprint. For the non Sprint branded BYOD devices like Google Pixels or unlocked Moto devices the future is quite murky indeed. 

Sprint VoLTE Soft Launch Market Map

volte.jpg

See this for map of all Sprint market boundaries

Sprint VoLTE Soft Launch Markets

Atlanta / Athens Austin
Baltimore Boston
Central Jersey Chicago
Cincinnati
Cleveland
Colorado
Columbus
DFW East Kentucky
East Michigan
Ft. Wayne / South Bend
Houston
Idaho
Indianapolis
Kansas
LA Metro
Las Vegas
Long Island
Miami / West Palm
Milwaukee
Minnesota
Missouri
Nashville
New York City
Norfolk
North Wisconsin
Northern Jersey
Oklahoma
Oregon / SW Washington
Orlando
Philadelphia Metro
Phoenix
Pittsburgh
Richmond
San Antonio
SF Bay
South Bay
South Texas
Southern Jersey
Tampa
Toledo
Upper Central Valley
Utah
Washington DC
West Iowa / Nebraska
West Virginia

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Great news. I wonder if this will come with a subsequent final bump of B26 power levels to absolutely ensure the voice footprint is as close to 1x as it can get. 

It's good to see that NY and Delaware are absent from the soft launch, as they are definitely not ready yet. Sprint must know this, and is hopefully taking measures to get these markets up to snuff before finishing the VoLTE rollout. 

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I don't know how excited I am for this. My experience on Calling Plus is VERY mixed with quality. Often folks on the other end complain I sound very choppy on a Calling Plus (on LTE) call, also losing audio for a couple seconds. Other times it's like I'm sitting in the same room with them. I hope there are some improvements afoot over Calling Plus quality. 

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Any indication if VoLTE initiated calls will be able to fallback to wifi? 

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53 minutes ago, burnout8488 said:

Great news. I wonder if this will come with a subsequent final bump of B26 power levels to absolutely ensure the voice footprint is as close to 1x as it can get. 

From the towers? Probably a fat NO.

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32 minutes ago, mmark27 said:

I don't know how excited I am for this. My experience on Calling Plus is VERY mixed with quality. Often folks on the other end complain I sound very choppy on a Calling Plus (on LTE) call, also losing audio for a couple seconds. Other times it's like I'm sitting in the same room with them. I hope there are some improvements afoot over Calling Plus quality. 

This is a similar experience with VoLTE on the early days with Verizon and T-Mobile. Choppy calls on those networks are due to poor rf performing handsets. QoS won't be able to fix that. 

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1 hour ago, mmark27 said:

I don't know how excited I am for this. My experience on Calling Plus is VERY mixed with quality. Often folks on the other end complain I sound very choppy on a Calling Plus (on LTE) call, also losing audio for a couple seconds. Other times it's like I'm sitting in the same room with them. I hope there are some improvements afoot over Calling Plus quality. 

yea i would agree.. after a week i turned it off... while "general" service around here is probably better than average. There are still to many holes, in areas where quite frankly there shouldnt.. Yesterday and today for example... I was at around 111 -114 signal strength B-41... and it wouldnt even pull up basic speed test.. Come on Really????  And I am suppose to have a business call???  Not good

In fact I find it almost comical that they are launching in utah.. Considering how many holes i think there still are for data.. let alone calls

 

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I see East Michigan on the map but not on the list? Wonder if it's a soft launch market... 

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5 minutes ago, rocketr said:

I see East Michigan on the map but not on the list? Wonder if it's a soft launch market... 

Wondered that too?

 

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1 hour ago, dro1984 said:

Wondered that too?

 

I was wondering why there was 47 entries rather than 49 last night... Will Correct in a bit. 

 

Corrected*

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I wonder if there’s going to be an LTE upgrade push over the next month here in the DC market to better prep it for VoLTE.

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I just want them to put B26 on every site, particularly in the suburbs/exurbs. Sprint does not have the site density to do it on band 25.

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1 hour ago, bigsnake49 said:

I just want them to put B26 on every site, particularly in the suburbs/exurbs. Sprint does not have the site density to do it on band 25.

My local site just got 800MHz added... the 1x800 is live and B26 should go live soon so I know they are pumping up B26 for this. 

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20 hours ago, though said:

No Pixel compatibility? Lame!

It can be the same way in other carriers. Att drops down to HSPA+ during calls on non att branded phone's. TMobile on the pixel I'm not sure

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I've had VoLTE on my straight-from-Google OG Pixel, as well as WiFi calling. Carriers can make it work if they feel like doing so.

Fingers crossed that my Essential Phone will get VoLTE support. It doesn't have Calling Plus but it does have WiFi calling, and is relatively aggressive about using WiFi calling to boot.

Austin LTE is at the point where, as long as QoS is involved properly, VoLTE should work well here.

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Better late than never but hopefully the Tmobile/Sprint merger goes through and Tmobile will help complete the VoLTE rollout faster than Sprint ever could.

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I would guess that the areas where Sprint will initially enable T-Mobile roaming with coincide with their VoLTE launch areas.

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On 8/3/2018 at 10:35 PM, iansltx said:

I've had VoLTE on my straight-from-Google OG Pixel, as well as WiFi calling. Carriers can make it work if they feel like doing so.

Fingers crossed that my Essential Phone will get VoLTE support. It doesn't have Calling Plus but it does have WiFi calling, and is relatively aggressive about using WiFi calling to boot.

Austin LTE is at the point where, as long as QoS is involved properly, VoLTE should work well here.

In terms of the Essential Phone (which I bought on Prime Day, pretty great deal), there's no reason that it shouldn't work other than if one needs an upgrade to an ISIM to support VoLTE. Essential Phone supports VoLTE on any carrier that has it enabled following the standard, like T-Mobile. US carriers are unfortunate in the way they've enabled VoLTE (I have no idea what AT&T in particular, as a GSM carrier, restricts what devices can use VoLTE on their network). In the rest of the world phones are designed to work on VoLTE just like they do on HSPA+ and GSM - it doesn't have to be enabled on the user's account, it just works if the phone supports it, a lot like T-Mobile's implementation in the US. 

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On 8/2/2018 at 3:23 PM, mmark27 said:

I don't know how excited I am for this. My experience on Calling Plus is VERY mixed with quality. Often folks on the other end complain I sound very choppy on a Calling Plus (on LTE) call, also losing audio for a couple seconds. Other times it's like I'm sitting in the same room with them. I hope there are some improvements afoot over Calling Plus quality. 

Same here.  Maybe it is a symptom of the WI market we are both in...  or it just isn't very good.

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On 8/2/2018 at 4:01 PM, burnout8488 said:

Great news. I wonder if this will come with a subsequent final bump of B26 power levels to absolutely ensure the voice footprint is as close to 1x as it can get. 

It's good to see that NY and Delaware are absent from the soft launch, as they are definitely not ready yet. Sprint must know this, and is hopefully taking measures to get these markets up to snuff before finishing the VoLTE rollout. 

The New Jersey market when I live is definitely not ready yet..density must dramatically improve from its current position to a better one or calls will drop...

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I have heard from a very reliable source that Samsung devices are first to be on the VoLTE testing bandwagon and there are three phases before it reaches testing out in the wild.  Sprint is on phase 1 and the next one has been delayed approximately a month and needs to be done before they are asking for volunteers for their devices to be put onto the VoLTE list.  He also mentioned the S8 devices are the first ones on the list.  Fingers crossed!  

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13 minutes ago, ceopwong said:

I have heard from a very reliable source that Samsung devices are first to be on the VoLTE testing bandwagon and there are three phases before it reaches testing out in the wild.  Sprint is on phase 1 and the next one has been delayed approximately a month and needs to be done before they are asking for volunteers for their devices to be put onto the VoLTE list.  He also mentioned the S8 devices are the first ones on the list.  Fingers crossed!  

Where do iPhones fall on the list?

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1 minute ago, RedSpark said:

Where do iPhones fall on the list?

That I do not know since his wheelhouse is Samsung only so the short answer is I don't know and I doubt he knows either but I can toss the question out to him but it will be a bit before I get a reply.   

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2 minutes ago, ceopwong said:

That I do not know since his wheelhouse is Samsung only so the short answer is I don't know and I doubt he knows either but I can toss the question out to him but it will be a bit before I get a reply.   

Cool! Curious what you hear back. 😀

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Left twix source claims left twix first to fall into wrapper and be packaged. When asked about right twix, source claims no knowledge of right twix because source is only left twix. A key word could have been added to source claim..."among"

Would almost place bet on Sprint announcing VoLTE same day as new iPhone released and new iPhone models being HPUE. Same thing happened with CA

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