High-Definition Voice coming to Mobile phones

March 4, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Although the focus these days is primarily on data and smartphones, it’s exciting that Operators have continued to look for ways to communicate better, such as High Definition voice. Skeptical that improvement is needed? Try out the demo (from Orange, who is leading the charge to deploy HD Voice), check out the convincing 3rd-party evaluation, or compare Standard vs. HD audio. Not only is the voice clearer, but there is less background noise; HD Voice includes active noise reduction (similar in function to the Noise Shield(TM) feature that makes Aliph Jawbone headsets so great). The result is “Wow!” You will want to have conversations over HD Voice, as they are easier to understand, and richer, more nuanced … like a face to face conversation.

SInce Voice is still a cash cow for Mobile Operators, it is a great idea to enhance it, to assert the improved quality that you get from a Mobile Operator (vs. an Over The Top service provider, such as Skype). Now that mobile networks carry more Data than Voice traffic, it’s easy to allocate a bit more bandwidth to improved voice. The service uses a new codec, Wideband AMR (an improvement on the current AMR standard used in GSM).

Where can I get it?

As with most new mobile features/services, you will need for your Operator to offer it, and you need a compatible handset (probably a new now, in this case).

Operator Support: At last count, HD Voice is provided by 39 mobile nets, in 31 countries. Orange has been leading the deployment (including pushing the standards development), delivering HD Voice in many of its European and Middle East properties.

Handset Support: Only a few handsets currently support HD Voice, so you’ll have to look carefully. It has been rumored to be a feature of the new iPhone 5 (but, then, what new capability has not been rumored to be in the new, iPhone 5?).

Caller needs it, too: Both Caller and Called must have this feature, for it to work at HD voice quality (see Engadget demo). Makes sense, however, as it is an end-to-end service. Like a Skype video call, both parties need it for it to work, end-to-end.

Tariff: Orange does not charge anything more for this feature, interestingly. It simply establishes Orange voice as a superior service, and encourages callers to use Orange to call their family & friends with HD-capable phones. Nice move.

Soon, you will be able to enjoy HD Voice as more handsets and networks support this important, new feature.

Trend towards Improved Communication

Since mobile phones have become the primary phone that people use–replacing fixed/wireline/VoIP phones–they are incorporating the best features of wireline service:

Done: Caller ID, Call Waiting, Voice Mail, Three-way calling, etc.
Deploying: Calling Name (see related posts)
Coming: High-quality Voice

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