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Telecoms Announce "One Voice" Initiative To Promote LTE Wireless Broadband Stand

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the wars-fought-with-dollars dept.

Cellphones 39

suraj.sun writes to mention that Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks may have just gotten a boost over WiMax in the battle for wireless broadband dominance. A group of telecom companies has created the "One Voice" initiative, designed to promote a standard that will provide interoperability for broadband voice and SMS. "LTE has been fine at supporting data, which uses IP-based packet switching. But it's faced challenges trying to incorporate traditional circuit-based switching voice and SMS services onto IP-based networks. One Voice is the group's attempt to resolve that issue. The new specification will use existing functionality known as IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS), which already defines how to provide data, voice, and other content over an IP-based network. IMS was established by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a group comprised of telecom industry associations trying to set standards for 3G mobile networks."

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ZOMG QoS LOL !1!! (0, Redundant)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 4 years ago | (#30010740)

So they've come up with a new, clever way to prioritize traffic, so that packety networks appear circuity?


Re:ZOMG QoS LOL !1!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011064)

LTE has been fine at supporting data, which uses IP-based packet switching. But it's faced challenges trying to incorporate traditional circuit-based switching voice and SMS services onto IP-based networks.

That's because circuit-switched != packet-switched. Just throw out the concept of circuit-switching entirely and use voip. What a bunch of silly niggers.

Re:ZOMG QoS LOL !1!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30011420)

Oh... my god.... The word "nigger" is in a slashdot post and it's not a troll!

However, VoIP is not a panacea.

Some large companies are missing (5, Interesting)

Xerfas (1625945) | more than 4 years ago | (#30010856)

Would be nice if Huawei and ZTE also got into One Voice. Sprint, Clearwire and T-mobile has chosen other technologies where Sprint and Clearwire goes for Wimax and wont go for LTE and T-mobile goes for VoLGA, Voice over LTE via Generic Access. I think it would be better if those companies joined in on LTE in One Voice. But that's just my opinion. Just more logical to have one standard then several for the sake of the customers and ofcourse the mobile manufacturers.

Re:Some large companies are missing (1)

drizek (1481461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012774)

Sprints Clearwire wimax hardware can be switched over to LTE apparently with just a firmware update.

If LTE takes off, Sprint/Clearwire will almost certainly adopt it.

Re:Some large companies are missing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30015434)

May be true for the base station, but definitely not true for the many devices in the field. So it would be a nice transition to manage for sure...

SMS? (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 4 years ago | (#30010860)

Hard to see how SMS is not compatible with packet switching. TFA just seems to say Voice and SMS everywhere as if they were the same thing.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30010968)

Well, they have to keep up the whole SMS racket. If each SMS message went through as one IP packet, how could they charge $0.20 each?

Putting SMS on the Internet can be botched. though. Google just did it. Google Voice supports SMS send and receive. Google's site can be queried for SMS in XML and JSON. There's a Python library for this. [] All this works. But Google's returned XML has so much useless dreck in it that each poll returns about 100K of data, even if there's no new SMS traffic. Thus, if you poll every 30 seconds and get no new messages, you use a quarter of a gigabyte a day of bandwidth just polling. So don't do that in an iPhone app to save on SMS charges.

Google needs to put Google Voice on something like RSS, where there's a way to cheaply poll to find out if anything changed. When polling RSS, you send back the ID from the previous poll reply. If you get a 304 status and no data, nothing changed. It would also help if they got the RSS implementation right. Some RSS servers return a new unique ID every time, even when nothing changed. (Twitter, I'm looking at you here.)

There are thus some widely used services which waste vast amounts of bandwidth trying to do by pull and poll what can be cheaply done by push.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (4, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011054)

Thus, if you poll every 30 seconds and get no new messages, you use a quarter of a gigabyte a day of bandwidth just polling. So don't do that in an iPhone app to save on SMS charges.

And if you poll, you'll consume so much battery that the iPhone won't make it through a working day. Seriously. In any mobile application (be it iPhone, Android, WebOS or other), you should not poll, and definitely not every 30 seconds, because you'll eat up battery in no time - the CPU and radios just suck power when you do. It's why Apple has the whole push notification deal - getting notified is far better on the battery than polling.

If GV requires this for SMS, then you as app developer should setup a notification server and do the polling there.

And SMS does require special handling since the target may not be awake when you need to push it out. You can't just send it to the phone, you have to send a wakeup to the phone first then send the packet out. In regular GSM, the control channel is what notifies the radio, and the radio handles all the SMS transfer. In IP based network, it may be pushed off onto the main processor to use its IP stack.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (3, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011308)

When I was in Japan back around 2003, SMS had been completely replaced by email there. All phones supported email, and when you received an email the phone woke up. If you've got an IP network, it's pretty easy to just use an existing protocol, like XMPP or email to deliver messages. There are existing email to SMS gateways, so this seems like an obvious way of doing it. Only support email on your LTE phones and have the carrier run a gateway that turns SMS received for the phone into email and emails addressed to {phone number} into SMS for legacy networks and maybe add something to the phone's UI that lets it pretend to still be sending SMS and fills in the bit of the email address for you.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (2, Insightful)

rdoger6424 (879843) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012066)

That's because the SMS system there was (is?) so broken that people had to use email.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011396)

And if you poll, you'll consume so much battery that the iPhone won't make it through a working day....And SMS does require special handling since the target may not be awake when you need to push it out.

So this stuff isn't really my area of expertise, but insofar as the problem is in the polling/pushing over IP, doesn't it make sense to come up with a generalized solution that can be used freely for things other than SMS? There are lots of things that people want some kind of "push" technology for, including emails, IM, social networking updates, and even file changes. Doesn't it make sense to just make a standard for pushing whatever data needs to be pushed rather than coming up with something special for voice and SMS?

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (1)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011564)

It's called SIP (Session Initiation Protocol). The idea there is that you've got an address (like a phone number, but more generic), and anyone can use the SIP gateway to push content to you. Can be used for email, VOIP, whatever. The SIP gateway stands between public internet and your wireless network, more or less. I can't remember exactly as it's been a few years since I read anybody?

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012976)

Doesn't it make sense to just make a standard for pushing whatever data needs to be pushed

It's amazing how we can be in 2009, talking about a system being built on top of IP, and the idea of "push" seems advanced. Give the phone a routable IPv6 address, using an extra layer of tunneling for mobile IPv6 if necessary. Every incoming IP packet is a potential "push", and the phone should have TCP listeners for allowing asynchronously initiated application connections from the outside. Apply some sensible firewall rules and TLS security, and you are most of the way there.

By now, we should be talking about real advanced things, like a device that can delegate network policies into the network to help it manage its power budget, e.g. tell the network what your firewall goals are and even your QoS goals, so it can filter and queue traffic for you and avoid waking your radio with traffic you will just drop. All of these could be done as management protocols to modify TCP/IP connectivity "out of band" rather than some new abomination. A phone is a computer is a router.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (2, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011646)

Wait wait wait...

Why are we talking polling with regard to the iPhone?

Iphone and android have push notifications. (Basically sleeping tCP/IP connections similar to Microsoft Active Sync.

You have a TCP connection is opened to the server, and if there is nothing to send the server just doesn't send anything, and the phone shuts down its transmitters.

In 12 to 18 minutes, if no traffic occures the connection times out and drops, the socket becomes readable to the phone, the phone wakes up and creates a new connection and goes back to sleep.

If the server has something to send it puts it on the TCP connection, the socket becomes readable to the phone, it wakes up and does what is necessary.

No polling, unless you count a brief arousal from its slumber once every 15 minutes or so to reestablish a socket as polling.

This technique is used for lots of things on the net such as imap idled an of course MS Active Sync with an exchange server. Its non-patentable, and Apple supplies the notification service for any application that cares to use it.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014602)

I was just using the iPhone as an example. I just need an API that accesses Google Voice for SMS. "pygooglevoice" has the right functionality, but once I got it working, I realized that underneath, the efficiency is awful. []

Eventually Google's developers will figure this out, and either block programmable clients or add an API. Google inherited this thing from Grand Central, which never had that many users, and it needs some rework for scaleup.

Several commercial SMS gateways deliver SMS messages to web sites by making an HTTP request of the customer's web site. That's a form of "push". RSS polling wouldn't be expensive to support if done right. "No traffic" polls are cheap, especially if the information that user N has no new traffic is in RAM.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30012858)

Meh. Just let GV send your SMS to you via email, then you can get them in email and not need any special "SMS" support in the network.

Re:SMS on the Internet, efficiency issues. (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014198)

A simple solution: use a dedicated server (say $30-per-month VPS) to work as an adapter for their clumsy protocols.

Re:SMS? (3, Informative)

sg3000 (87992) | more than 4 years ago | (#30010988)

Strictly speaking, SMS has more in common with voice than the regular data traffic (email, http, etc). SMS travels across the digital control channel within the broadcast messages for the voice channels. Within the core of the network, it's transported on the SS7 network, which is the control network used for voice. So it is segregated from regular data.

IMS-based instant messaging will adapt fine to a 4G network, but there has to be some sort of standardized SS7 and IP gateway mechanism for the IMS network. It's not hard, but it's easier for operators if there's a reference that the operators can use.

Re:SMS? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011542)

So it is segregated from regular data.

It's still just a couple hundred bytes. It wouldn't take a genius to encapsulate the exact same data (in both directions) into a UDP packet. All you have to know is an IPv6 (or non-routable IPv4) address of that particular wireless client (which you already have obtained for voice call handling anyway), and the device obviously has to have the IP number for the other end, but you already have an IP-based server for MMS that could handle ACKs and outbound messages on a separate port. It's probably less than ten lines of code on the client end and less than a hundred on the server end to do the encapsulation, and they should get almost all of the infrastructure they need for free as part of the voice infrastructure.

And of course MMS is even easier. It's just a glorified HTTPS request. The only difference is that it occurs in response to a WAP push (MMS). So once you get basic SMS and IP-based networking working, you get SMS support for free.

Re:SMS? (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011548)

Oops. Got those TLAs backwards. I meant to say:

And of course MMS is even easier. It's just a glorified HTTPS request. The only difference is that it occurs in response to a WAP push (SMS). So once you get basic SMS and IP-based networking working, you get MMS support for free.

Re:SMS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30013042)

Actually this is part of the specification this thread is about (theres a link to the spec in Verizons press release). It is called SMS over IP and actually use a SIP message to encapsulate the SMS. The registration in SIP provides the address of the client.

One reason that SMS is still interesting for 4G is that is also used to configure the settings of the client.

Your official guide to the Jigaboo presidency (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30010898)

Congratulations on your purchase of a brand new nigger! If handled properly, your apeman will give years of valuable, if reluctant, service.

You should install your nigger differently according to whether you have purchased the field or house model. Field niggers work best in a serial configuration, i.e. chained together. Chain your nigger to another nigger immediately after unpacking it, and don't even think about taking that chain off, ever. Many niggers start singing as soon as you put a chain on them. This habit can usually be thrashed out of them if nipped in the bud. House niggers work best as standalone units, but should be hobbled or hamstrung to prevent attempts at escape. At this stage, your nigger can also be given a name. Most owners use the same names over and over, since niggers become confused by too much data. Rufus, Rastus, Remus, Toby, Carslisle, Carlton, Hey-You!-Yes-you!, Yeller, Blackstar, and Sambo are all effective names for your new buck nigger. If your nigger is a ho, it should be called Latrelle, L'Tanya, or Jemima. Some owners call their nigger hoes Latrine for a joke. Pearl, Blossom, and Ivory are also righteous names for nigger hoes. These names go straight over your nigger's head, by the way.

Owing to a design error, your nigger comes equipped with a tongue and vocal chords. Most niggers can master only a few basic human phrases with this apparatus - "muh dick" being the most popular. However, others make barking, yelping, yapping noises and appear to be in some pain, so you should probably call a vet and have him remove your nigger's tongue. Once de-tongued your nigger will be a lot happier - at least, you won't hear it complaining anywhere near as much. Niggers have nothing interesting to say, anyway. Many owners also castrate their niggers for health reasons (yours, mine, and that of women, not the nigger's). This is strongly recommended, and frankly, it's a mystery why this is not done on the boat

Your nigger can be accommodated in cages with stout iron bars. Make sure, however, that the bars are wide enough to push pieces of nigger food through. The rule of thumb is, four niggers per square yard of cage. So a fifteen foot by thirty foot nigger cage can accommodate two hundred niggers. You can site a nigger cage anywhere, even on soft ground. Don't worry about your nigger fashioning makeshift shovels out of odd pieces of wood and digging an escape tunnel under the bars of the cage. Niggers never invented the shovel before and they're not about to now. In any case, your nigger is certainly too lazy to attempt escape. As long as the free food holds out, your nigger is living better than it did in Africa, so it will stay put. Buck niggers and hoe niggers can be safely accommodated in the same cage, as bucks never attempt sex with black hoes.

Your Nigger likes fried chicken, corn bread, and watermelon. You should therefore give it none of these things because its lazy ass almost certainly doesn't deserve it. Instead, feed it on porridge with salt, and creek water. Your nigger will supplement its diet with whatever it finds in the fields, other niggers, etc. Experienced nigger owners sometimes push watermelon slices through the bars of the nigger cage at the end of the day as a treat, but only if all niggers have worked well and nothing has been stolen that day. Mike of the Old Ranch Plantation reports that this last one is a killer, since all niggers steal something almost every single day of their lives. He reports he doesn't have to spend much on free watermelon for his niggers as a result. You should never allow your nigger meal breaks while at work, since if it stops work for more than ten minutes it will need to be retrained. You would be surprised how long it takes to teach a nigger to pick cotton. You really would. Coffee beans? Don't ask. You have no idea.

Niggers are very, very averse to work of any kind. The nigger's most prominent anatomical feature, after all, its oversized buttocks, which have evolved to make it more comfortable for your nigger to sit around all day doing nothing for its entire life. Niggers are often good runners, too, to enable them to sprint quickly in the opposite direction if they see work heading their way. The solution to this is to *dupe* your nigger into working. After installation, encourage it towards the cotton field with blows of a wooden club, fence post, baseball bat, etc., and then tell it that all that cotton belongs to a white man, who won't be back until tomorrow. Your nigger will then frantically compete with the other field niggers to steal as much of that cotton as it can before the white man returns. At the end of the day, return your nigger to its cage and laugh at its stupidity, then repeat the same trick every day indefinitely. Your nigger comes equipped with the standard nigger IQ of 75 and a memory to match, so it will forget this trick overnight. Niggers can start work at around 5am. You should then return to bed and come back at around 10am. Your niggers can then work through until around 10pm or whenever the light fades.

Your nigger enjoys play, like most animals, so you should play with it regularly. A happy smiling nigger works best. Games niggers enjoy include: 1) A good thrashing: every few days, take your nigger's pants down, hang it up by its heels, and have some of your other niggers thrash it with a club or whip. Your nigger will signal its intense enjoyment by shrieking and sobbing. 2) Lynch the nigger: niggers are cheap and there are millions more where yours came from. So every now and then, push the boat out a bit and lynch a nigger.

Lynchings are best done with a rope over the branch of a tree, and niggers just love to be lynched. It makes them feel special. Make your other niggers watch. They'll be so grateful, they'll work harder for a day or two (and then you can lynch another one). 3) Nigger dragging: Tie your nigger by one wrist to the tow bar on the back of suitable vehicle, then drive away at approximately 50mph. Your nigger's shrieks of enjoyment will be heard for miles. It will shriek until it falls apart. To prolong the fun for the nigger, do *NOT* drag him by his feet, as his head comes off too soon. This is painless for the nigger, but spoils the fun. Always wear a seatbelt and never exceed the speed limit. 4) Playing on the PNL: a variation on (2), except you can lynch your nigger out in the fields, thus saving work time. Niggers enjoy this game best if the PNL is operated by a man in a tall white hood. 5) Hunt the nigger: a variation of Hunt the Slipper, but played outdoors, with Dobermans. WARNING: do not let your Dobermans bite a nigger, as they are highly toxic.

Niggers die on average at around 40, which some might say is 40 years too late, but there you go. Most people prefer their niggers dead, in fact. When yours dies, report the license number of the car that did the drive-by shooting of your nigger. The police will collect the nigger and dispose of it for you.

Have it put down, for god's sake. Who needs an uppity nigger? What are we, short of niggers or something?

They all do this. Shorten your nigger's chain so it can't reach any white women, and arm heavily any white women who might go near it.

Not unless it outnumbers you 20 to 1, and even then, it's not likely. If niggers successfully overthrew their owners, they'd have to sort out their own food. This is probably why nigger uprisings were nonexistent (until some fool gave them rights).

Yeah, well, it would. Tell it to shut the fuck up.

A nigger's skin is actually more or less transparent. That brown color you can see is the shit your nigger is full of. This is why some models of nigger are sold as "The Shitskin".

What you have there is a "wigger". Rough crowd. WOW!

They're as common as dog shit and about as valuable. In fact, one of them was President between 1992 and 2000. Put your wigger in a cage with a few hundred genuine niggers and you'll soon find it stops acting like a nigger. However, leave it in the cage and let the niggers dispose of it. The best thing for any wigger is a dose of TNB.

And you were expecting what?

When you came in here, did you see a sign that said "Dead nigger storage"? .That's because there ain't no goddamn sign.

Oh... my... god. (1)

straponego (521991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30010920)

The telecoms have caught on to IP? And the handset manufacturers are committing to a standard DC adaptor? ...I thought we'd be walking on Mars before this day. We probably would, too, if it weren't for these masterminds with their business imperatives (Must... not... cooperate! Waste is profit!).

VOIP? (1)

Phurge (1112105) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011036)

Excuse my ignorance, but why not send voice over IP? Why the need for a separate voice standard?

Re:VOIP? (1)

caladine (1290184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011114)

It's not a separate voice standard. With LTE, they're going to have to use VOIP - it's a done deal. What they do need a standard for is interoperability between standard circuit-switched systems (out there in abundance right now) and the upcoming LTE IP-based systems.

Re:VOIP? (2, Informative)

cuby (832037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011324)

Voice is much more complicated than it seems.
You have to tax calls, manage pre-paid and post-paid plans. You need to have rules for roaming between operators and types of access, guarantee privacy, but also ensure the the authorities can listen and trace calls if ordered by a court of law. You have QOS, policy enforcement (ex: terminate calls if you have no $$), call forwarding, ...
And all this must be integrated to other existing operators seamlessly and without braking any existing features.
It is very complicated stuff.

Re:VOIP? (3, Insightful)

sahonen (680948) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011534)

That all sounds like a bunch of work to prop up a business model that simply doesn't make sense anymore. Different billing for voice and data made sense when voice and data were legitimately different types of data, but here in the magical fantasy future year of 2009, a kilobyte of voice takes exactly the same effort to deliver as a kilobyte of data. Stop overcomplicating your business and just charge me by the fucking kilobyte already.

Re:VOIP? (1)

paul248 (536459) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012760)

Exactly. If it's an all-IP network, you should just be able to buy a connection from your wireless provider, and buy voice service from whomever you want. That's how it works with fixed Internet connections today.

Re:VOIP? (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014202)

a kilobyte of voice takes exactly the same effort to deliver as a kilobyte of data

Not true. If my voice packets have 200ms of jitter then the conversation will be unintelligible. If my YouTube video data (for example) has 200ms of jitter then I won't even notice.

Re:VOIP? (2, Informative)

tengwar (600847) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011720)

Not a daft question, but it's not a separate standard. SIP is the closest thing we have to a VoIP standard. IMS is the specification of how to fit SIP into a GSM network. There's a lot that SIP doesn't specify - e.g. authentication and authorisation (GSM networks need to use SIMs and the corresponding HLR/HSS back end databases), accounting and billing, gateways to circuit-switched voice etc.

Almost GSM (1)

s52d (1049172) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011118)

First we have GSM: made for voice, pefect for voice.

Then HSPA come. And VoIP over HSPA: HSPA is not good enough. So HSPA+ is tried, not good enough for voice.
So we need LTE to deliver voice over IP for IMS in order to have what GSM already provides.

Re:Almost GSM (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011450)

We need LTE to deliver VoIP to have what GSM provides, but without all the @#$& ELF or SLF radiation from the (@$#$(@( transmitter turning rapidly on and off making every audio device within 30 feet chatter just so it can check in with the tower.

WiMax may have lost its opportunity. (1)

cuby (832037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011238)

WiMax was in the works for too long. Besides that, after the millions spent on UMTS licenses here in Europe, no operator was willing to adopt it.
It seems that LTE (4G) is going to fit very well in the core GSM(2G)/UMTS(3G) infrastructure and there's already some fuzz about it.

Re:WiMax may have lost its opportunity. (1)

Miros (734652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30014156)

Yeah, spectrum killed WiMax in Europe; at this point so many carriers are on the LTE bandwagon that it would be very very hard for any other standard to really have a chance.

Isn't this what SIP is for? (1)

DigiWood (311681) | more than 4 years ago | (#30011504)

SIP provides the control part of the stream as well as messaging (think SMS or IM). RTP is used along side SIP for media. That media can be voice or video. Throw in some QoS so that the data that is along side the SIP and RTP media doesn't overwhelm the pipe and you have a workable, scalable solution based on open standards. No need to come up with a brand new protocol when one already exists and is in use on IP networks around the world.

Re:Isn't this what SIP is for? (2, Informative)

jonwil (467024) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012030)

Firstly, you need stuff to handle routing your call to those on other networks (PSTN, other mobile networks, GSM/UMTS/CDMA/etc).
Secondly you need stuff to handle hand-offs when you walk from the LTE coverage area to a GSM/CDMA/UMTS coverage area.
Also you need to be able to charge differently for voice and messaging (voice on mobile networks also has government taxes and charges that dont apply to data in various parts of the world)

LTE, WiMax, IMS, UMA, One Voice, and VoLGA (4, Informative)

Zigurd (3528) | more than 4 years ago | (#30012028)

LTE and WiMAX are the main competing 4G technologies. Both LTE and WiMAX are all-IP networks. No circuits. No dedicated channels for voice. If you run voice on 4G it will be packet voice no matter the other technology choices.

One Voice is what this consortium is calling IMS for 4G. IMS uses SIP for signaling. That makes IMS more like the kind of packet voice you find in Asterisk. Except IMS includes a lot of additional standards that, among other things, enables it to replace the signaling used in circuit switched networks and still interface to those networks. Some people favor IMS because it is the officially accepted 3GPP standard for these types of networks. Other people don't like IMS because it is too complicated and includes a lot of stuff that is unlikely to be used, including stuff like using SIP to initiate Web sessions so you can charge for them. Not that anyone would accept that kind of product.

The other consortium that pushing a voice call standard for LTE is called VoLGaA Forum. VoLGA stands for "Voice over LTE General Access." It works like UMA, which is a way of extending the circuit switched mobile signaling over IP. So you can buy these UMA "femtocells" - a really small cell site - and put them in your home or office and hook them up to your Internet service to extend mobile access to those locations. VoLGA is UMA scaled up to the whole network. Pretty suave, especially for the networks that already support UMA - you can re-use a lot of the same systems.

WiMAX never flirted with UMA (as far as I know) and I think most WiMAX networks that support voice will use IMS. Which is what One Voice is promoting for LTE. So that's no disadvantage for WiMAX.

You may be thinking "If it's all packet voice, why don't I put a SIP client on my smartphone and use my company's IP PBX? Or, why don't I use a smartphone Skype app?" That's called an over-the-top service (OTT). Which is why SMS is so... "important" to this discussion: The only thing you lose by using an OTT service, is SMS.

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