According to Infonetics Research, the United States and Asia, especially South Korea, are leading the voice over LTE (VoLTE) charge, with Verizon Wireless, Metro PCS, SK Telecom and LG U+ all planning to launch VoLTE services this year. In fact, South Korea and Hong Kong already have launched LTE data roaming; by August, SK Telecom expects to offer the Samsung Galaxy S3, the first handset to support VoLTE, on its network. Infonetics expects the number of global VoLTE subscribers to reach about 300,000 this year; AT&T plans to have VoLTE in place by 2013, and Clearwire says it will offer VoLTE when it launches its TD-LTE network by mid-2013. Despite all this, by 2016, VoLTE will make up only about 14 percent of global mobile VoIP revenue, while over-the-top mobile VoIP continues to make up the lion’s share…ElectroniCast says the number of fiber-optic connectors and mechanical splices reached 703 million units in 2011, but that volume will jump to more than 1.57 billion units by 2016. North America, Central and South America led in global market share with 54 percent last year, while the Asia Pacific region will grow the fastest in the near future. “As optical fiber use migrates closer and closer to the end user, where cable lengths are shorter with higher fiber counts, the requirements for jointing fibers becomes more critical,” note one company analyst…The first phase of the FCC’s Mobility Fund could represent important capital spending potential for regional operators, according to Fitch Ratings. The first phase provides $300 million of one-time support to accelerate wireless broadband deployment. The application window opened yesterday and will be accepted until July 11. Support will be awarded to winners based on the lowest bid amounts to serve a minimum of 75 percent of the road miles in an eligible census tract. Winning bidders must deploy either 3G service in two years or 4G service in three years of the award.