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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


See this for map of all Sprint market boundaries

Sprint VoLTE Soft Launch Markets

Atlanta / Athens Austin
Baltimore Boston
Central Jersey Chicago
DFW East Kentucky
East Michigan
Ft. Wayne / South Bend
LA Metro
Las Vegas
Long Island
Miami / West Palm
New York City
North Wisconsin
Northern Jersey
Oregon / SW Washington
Philadelphia Metro
San Antonio
SF Bay
South Bay
South Texas
Southern Jersey
Upper Central Valley
Washington DC
West Iowa / Nebraska
West Virginia

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On ‎8‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 4:23 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. 

VoLTE will be a guaranteed bit rate while calling plus is 'best effort' 

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3 hours 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!  

My RF engineer was issued S8 test phones... he told me that he thought after testing phase was complete that would probably just be pushed to all compatible phones.. in phases

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1 hour ago, bbostwick8 said:

My RF engineer was issued S8 test phones... he told me that he thought after testing phase was complete that would probably just be pushed to all compatible phones.. in phases

Yeah that was the general idea that I was given by my source as well.  Just the second testing phase was pushed back a month so it will delay and S8 devices were the first compatible phones they were going to try first is the impression I got from our brief conversation. I appreciate your confirmation and info though! 

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On 8/18/2018 at 4:40 PM, schmidtj said:

Will Magic Boxes  support VoLTE on Day 1 if they are in the VoLTE rollout area or will that be a separate thing?

I would think any Macro site that is supplying the backhaul with VoLTE enabled would mean Magic Boxes get it too. 

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On 8/2/2018 at 3:01 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. 


The problem is generally the power from the handset back to the tower, not from the tower to the handset.

On 8/2/2018 at 5:18 PM, floorguy said:

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


Voice calls should require less capacity than a speed test. A speed test is the most intensive thing you can do on a network, well, short of BitTorrent.

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On 9/14/2018 at 6:22 AM, ericdabbs said:

Are they using all 3 LTE bands for VoLTE?  It would be interesting to see B41 VoLTE.

I don't see why not, China Mobile does it, although they have more than a million base stations in China due to the smaller coverage of band 38/41. The main thing is that changes between bands are dynamic and without disruption, so if band 41 gets weak it'll switch seamlessly to band 25 or 26 and back again.

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5 hours ago, RedSpark said:

Calling Plus is set to be removed/shut down very soon.

This Support Article was just updated:


Sounds like VoLTE is coming.

If you would like to ensure you have Calling PLUS available on your phone, you can wait to take the device update until we commercially launch VoLTE in 2019. Sprint will be deploying network upgrades in different cities and regions over the next several months.

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There is a gym I go to where the signal always used to drop to 3G indoors.
A couple of days ago I turned on VoLTE capability on my S8+.
I have not yet experienced any actual VoLTE calls yet here in Raleigh (we are not in the list of initial VoLTE markets but we are a 5G upgrade location I believe), BUT something else good happened.

My phone roamed on LTE in the gym for the very first time I have ever seen it roam anywhere. In fact, it was on TMobile band 4 at 80 down and 28 up on Speed Test.

Evidently they will no longer drop to 3G, but will keep LTE, roaming if necessary to do so, in order to preserve the ability to do VoLTE.

It seems this gift is being given only to people who have phones upgraded to VoLTE.

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VoLTE experience question for KC area folks:  Does your VoLTE drop between the Nall Exit around the YRC building to US Hwy 69 going westbound?  I don't believe it happens to me going eastbound.  I was not sure if this is something that is specific to my device or many of the S8 VoLTE users out there.  I appreciate everyone's input! 

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