Verizon: Can you VoIP Me Now?

by Colin Berkshire

Colin Here.

I often write that Cell phone companies are models of bad management, greed, and technical ineptitude. Verizon’s new VoLTE is a perfect example.

If you are using VOIP and a SIP phone app on your smartphone you know that calls can be crystal clear and transparently transition from your cell phone tower to WiFi and back again. This is basic stuff that has been around for a while now.

The VOIP handoff from cellular to WiFi is so seemless that it actually requires no engineering to accomplish. Your smartphone has a simple router and it uses the route with the lowest cost metric to route data. When connected to a cell tower VOIP uses that, and when a WiFi connection appears the data just goes that way. It’s no-brainer simple.

Leave it to a cellular company to mess it up.

Verizon’s new voice over LTE promises clear phone calls–but only to other Verizon customers. Oh, and their voice over LTE can’t transition a call even from their LTE network to their 3G network; your call will get dropped if you get out of tower range or transition to a 3G tower. The [lame] excuse is that backward integrating voice over LTE is very challenging, and as their CDMA network is at end-of-life with no technical changes possible they just can’t make things work. [Cough] Bull [Cough]. Their engineers are either stupid or live under a rock.

If Verizon would view itself as a data network company rather than a phone company they would immediately realize that they simply need a SIP VOIP client. These are available to license for, oh, pretty close to free.

A SIP VOIP client would originate a call, offering crystal clear connections to any network…wireline or cellular or across the world. When a user get within range if WiFi the cell phone would simply route packets that way, instead of over the cell network. leaving the office? No problem, data traffic would just continue on the cell tower. There is a plethora of codecs available as well as encryption. Best of all, Verizon could just dump their voice network altogether and backhaul data to the nearest Internet backbone POP.

A fancy and trivially simple enhancement would allow the SIP phone app to seek out and register with the nearest VOIP server/gateway to minimize the length of the haul.

I am shocked that Verizon is launching VoLTE at all and not just using a SIP phone app. Oh, wait, that technology is already built into IOS 8 through WiFi calling.

Considering that Verizon offers free, unlimited calling on most of their plans it would be logical for them to want to discontinue any distinction for voice and just call everything data.

I don’t mean to call Verizon “stupid” in a derogatory way. I mean that they seem truly, genuinely stupid to me.