Rural Businesses May Finally Get A Shot At VoIP

Yet another clear indication that VoIP will soon be carried over 4G wireless, i.e.  LTE (Long Term Evolution) emerged a couple of weeks ago at the Citi Global Internet, Media & Telecommunications Conference.

At that conference AT&T’s senior EVP of AT&T technology and network operations, John Donovan, made it crystal clear that part of AT&T’s broadband delivery plans include LTE, mostly in rural areas, rather than wired broadband service.

“We anticipate that LTE will be our broadband coverage solution for a portion of the country, we just haven’t yet gotten to the point where we’ve got enough experience under our belt to know what the portion will be,” Donovan said. “There’s no question that as we extend ourselves from 75 percent of the footprint to 99 percent of the footprint in our region that we’re going to be using LTE for some of that broadband.” (For those who would like to hear Donovan’s entire presentation, it’s at: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=113088&p=irol-EventDetails&EventId=4887032

What the means, of course, is that businesses in America’s rural areas who opt for VoIP services such as Phone.com will be getting another broadband option for delivery of Internet phone service. Indeed for some it may be their first high speed broadband option, which means a fertile new market for both business and residential VoIP carriers.

 I’ve blogged about what I see as the relation between VoIP and LTE often, so it is gratifying to see my predictions come a step closer to reality. One thing I should mention on the technical side is that VoIP over LTE (or VoLTE) used to deliver broadband to a fixed location is significantly easier than VoIP over an LTE-capable cell phone. That’s because VoLTE for a phone needs to accommodate hand-off as the user moves from one place to another, an issue that doesn’t arise with a fixed location.