AT&T announces pricing and availability of the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini with HD Voice

As AT&T is getting ready to be the first carrier to launch voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), we will begin to see the initial rollout of smartphones that are compatible with the feature and enjoy HD voice as part of the package.

Beginning May 23rd, VoLTE will be active in Chicago and Minneapolis, and the device that will make its debut on that day to provide the super-clear call quality will be none other than the Samsung Galaxy S4 mini.

The S4 mini was announced a year ago, and has since been available on Verizon, Sprint, and US Cellular, albeit without any HD Voice compatibility. It is a decidedly mid-range phone, but has a lot of cool little features that its big brother had, like an IR emitter for using it as a remote, S-Beam, and NFC.

While some might balk at the dual-core Snapdragon 400 CPU and Adreno 305 GPU, we had no issues with the Galaxy S4 mini’s performance. Thankfully, there is microSD support since TouchWiz takes up half of the 8GB of on-board storage.

Price-wise, the Galaxy S4 mini will run $49.99 on a two-year agreement. The device will be available on AT&T Next too, with Next 12 costing $18.50 per-month (for 20 months) and Next 18 costing $14.24 per-month (for 26 months). That equates to a full retail price of $370, which is respectable for an LTE equipped smartphone with an 8MP camera, and all the Samsung packed features.

Just remember, to use HD Voice, the person you are calling will need a compatible device too. If you were thinking of picking up one for yourself, you may want to grab more for the family.

source: AT&T



1. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

A lot of promotion for Samsung, but no list from AT&T of all the devices will work with HD voice? Seems like people who don't have an S4 mini won't care much about HD voice.

2. Maxwell.R

Posts: 218; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

That would be because at launch, the S4 mini is the only device that will support VoLTE. The ASUS PadFone X should as well, but all we have been getting from AT&T on that front is promos with no price or release date.

3. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

From PhoneArena, 02 February 2012: Qualcomm and Ericsson show VoLTE on Snapdragon S4 "Now, this is a breakthrough even though it’s only a test call on a test network as it suggests that the dual-baseband technology is already well implemented in the S4 chip and may come on devices later in the year. The technology will be demonstrated at MWC later in the month, so here’s to hoping this brings us the first VoLTE handsets in 2012." It would seem many phones would be able to support VoLTE. I wonder what is keeping ATT from simply publishing the list of devices they have already tested with VoLTE.

4. Maxwell.R

Posts: 218; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

And yet it was a test call, and yet, "it suggests..." It was AT&T that announced 2014 for VoLTE. There is more to it than the chipset. In T-Mobile's case, it brought HD Voice to multiple handsets right away using adaptive multi-rate wideband, it is still a circuit switched call. VoLTE, is really just another name for VoIP. The difference is that over the airwaves the QoS needs to be more reliable, or instead of just jittering, there will be gaps, jitters, and packets getting rearranged if hand-offs are handled incorrectly. The S4 mini is nearly a year old, so the solution for VoLTE is obviously not in the chipset. Without having gone into great reading, for the handset it looks like a software solution coupled with specific type of SIM card. Since the S4 mini is not going to be craved by "early adopters" hardware-wise, demand will be slower than the line waiting for a new S5. AT&T is clearly making sure they have their stuff correct before agressively rolling things out.

5. 0xFFFF

Posts: 3806; Member since: Apr 16, 2014

I can see your point with ATT going with phased rollout and keeping the first phase small. Using the S4 mini would be an appropriate phone because it didn't sell that well. However, in any test, it would probably be good to have people with HD voice talking to each other using HD voice. Using something more popular like the Galaxy S4 makes more sense for more thorough test. Although maybe due to VOIP processing overhead, ATT wants to be sure it works on a lower spec phone first. Independent from the phased rollout, what is missing from ATT though is a list of which devices they plan on supporting. For people who want good quality voice calls, this sort of list may likely be a factor in their purchase decisions.

6. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

The downside of VoLTE is that LTE uses much more power than GSM to transmit its signal to the tower. In other words, VoLTE will drain the battery more quickly.

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