The days of smartphone users having to pay for buckets of voice minutes each month may be approaching an end. The South Korea IT Times reports that South Korea Telecom will soon start upgrading its customers’ Samsung (005930) Galaxy S III smartphones so they can make voice calls over the carrier’s LTE network. This is significant because it means that voice calls on the SKT customers’ smartphones will become just another data application rather than a separate service requiring its own monthly plan. In the United States, major carriers Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T) and Sprint (S) all plan to deploy their own Voice over LTE services sometime in 2013. Of course, considering the direction data plans have been heading recently, we should all expect carriers to compensate for any potential lost voice plan revenue by raising prices elsewhere.
UPDATE: MetroPCS announced a VoLTE service of its own on Tuesday.