SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) -- LG Electronics, the world's fourth- largest handset maker, Wednesday unveiled the world's first smartphone that offers voice call service through the fourth- generation (4G) long-term evolution (LTE) networks.
LG's Optimus LTE2 smartphone that supports the voice over LTE (VoLTE) service was rolled out in Seoul through the nation's No.3 wireless carrier LG Uplus, according to an e-mailed statement.
The company also launched the VoLTE-supporting Connect 4G smartphone in the United States via the U.S. mobile operator Metro PCS.
The two smartphones added the VoLTE function to the Optimus LTE2 and Connect 4G models that were released in May in South Korea and in March in the U.S. respectively. LG said that it planned to provide software upgrades for Optimus LTE2 users who want to use the service.
The VoLTE service offers voice and video call service through the 4G LTE networks, enabling users to enjoy clearer quality and faster connection than the third-generation (3G) networks, the company said.
According to a report by Jefferies & Company, LG owned 23 percent of around 1,400 LTE patents filed worldwide, valued at around 8 billion U.S. dollars. The South Korean tech firm demonstrated the LTE technology in 2007 for the first time globally, and developed the world's first LTE modem chipset in 2008.