During a recent speech at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, Verizon CFO Fran Shammo revealed the wireless carrier will launch Wi-Fi calling sometime during the middle of 2015 although it has never been a top priority for the company.
To get to that point, Shammo pointed out that Verizon will need to do some technological work to their network to make it happen.
Last week, T-Mobile became the first major provider in the US to announce Wi-Fi calling and texting for all of its customers. CEO John Legere said the move wasn’t done because their network is lacking but because they want to deliver the best possible experience in areas where phones may not get any wireless reception at all – like in a basement, for example.
The competition, of course, saw this as an easy point of attack.
Shammo said Verizon built its voice platform so extensively that there was never a need for them to tell their customers, “Oh, our network is not good enough so you need to go on Wi-Fi to complete your call.”
The executive added that once a call goes onto a Wi-Fi network, it’s difficult for Verizon to guarantee the quality of service of the call – something his company has built its reputation on. It’s one of the main reasons why they’re just now starting to roll out their Voice over LTE service – they wanted to have adequate coverage.
On the other hand, one could see Shammo’s remarks about Wi-Fi calling and T-Mobile as typical. When you don’t yet offer a service or a product, you downplay it (remember when Steve Jobs blasted the competition by saying nobody was going to buy a large smartphone?). Once you do finally offer said service or product, you promote the heck out of it.