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Verizon prepares to add voice to IoT network

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Qualcomm and Ericsson assist with VoLTE on LTE Cat M1 network

Verizon Wireless said it has shown that voice-over-LTE works on its LTE Cat M1 network, meaning that internet of things applications have new opportunities to use voice commands to activate devices. LTE Cat M1 is a low-power variant of LTE that supports Verizon’s recently launched IoT network.

“By proving that voice services can be delivered on a production LTE Cat M1 network, we’re paving the way for new types of IoT applications and services,” said Rosemary McNally, vice president for corporate technology at Verizon.

“The IoT space offers new revenue-generating services for operators and adding voice capabilities to IoT devices takes use cases such as alarm panels and medical alert systems to the next level of functionality,” said Eric Parsons, head of product line 4G and RAN mobile broadband at Ericsson.

For the LTE Cat M1 trial, Verizon used Ericsson’s commercial network infrastructure and Qualcomm’s MDM9206 LTE modem, whose chip is enabled for Verizon’s ThingSpace IoT development platform. Qualcomm said its LTE modem is designed to support LTE Cat M1 with VoLTE so that operators can commercialize IoT applications and services that require voice.

“Extending VoLTE technology on Verizon’s nationwide LTE Cat M1 network is the natural next step in the evolution of IoT,” said McNally.

Verizon has been rolling VoLTE out on its 4G network for three years, although many smartphones on all U.S. carrier networks still fall back to 3G for voice service. Once carriers move most of their subscribers to VoLTE, they will be able to start refarming their 3G spectrum for LTE.

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