SK Telecom and LG Uplus said they will launch high-definition (HD) voice service over their LTE networks today, making them the world’s first 4G operators to roll out VoLTE.
SK Telecom said the new service, called HD Voice, uses a high definition audio codec that can support voice on a frequency band 2.2 times wider than that of a 3G voice call.
The service also promises to cut call connection time to less than 0.25 to 2.5 seconds, 2-20 times shorter than 3G voice calls that require an average of five seconds to connect a call.
SK Telecom is offering the service for the same rate (1.8 won per second) as its 3G voice service and pay-per-second billing scheme.
To use the new service, both people on the call need to be subscribed to SK Telecom’s LTE service and have HD Voice-capable devices.
SK Telecom will begin selling Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE handsets with embedded HD Voice features. Existing users of Galaxy S3 LTE will receive firmware upgrades within this month that will make their handsets compatible with HD Voice, SK Telecom said in a statement.
Smaller rival LG Uplus is also launching commercialized VoLTE services via the Galaxy S3 and Optimus LTE 2 smartphones, the Korea Timesreports.
KT Corp, the country's top fixed-line operator and No. 2 mobile carrier, earlier revealed it plans to commercialize the service in October following a pilot program that kicked off in July.