HD Voice to become a feature on most mobile networks

10 Mar 2011

The Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) has confirmed that a growing number of mobile network providers are getting ready for high-definition (HD) voice services and that 27 mobile device models are now shipping with HD Voice.

The GSA says it expects the trend to accelerate, with a growing number of new product launches from manufacturers who will view HD Voice as central to their strategy.

Mobile HD Voice based on AMR (Adaptive Multi Rate) Wideband technology (W-AMR) enables high-quality voice calls in mobile networks and an improved user experience.

It provides significantly higher voice quality for calls between mobile phones supporting the feature, and can be implemented in GSM, WCDMA-HSPA (UMTS) and LTE networks.

The higher voice quality using HD Voice improves the call experience and allows people to better share feelings, do business and communicate information.

HD Voice transmits a broader spectrum of the human voice; therefore conversation is more natural and is likened to speaking to the other party in the same room. HD Voice also helps people hear better in noisy environments. The W-AMR speech technology is standardised by 3GPP (Release 5).

There is a strong business case for mobile HD Voice. Customers make more, or longer, calls with HD Voice, and place a high value on HD Voice. HD Voice helps operators to clearly differentiate their offerings and enable high-quality services to voice-dependent businesses, like call centres, information services, emergency services, etc. HD Voice is also ideal for conference calls and can contribute to a reduction in business travel and raise productivity while reducing travel’s impact on the environment. Calls which are easier to hear and understand reduce fatigue typically associated with long conference calls.

Benefits of HD Voice phones

The first commercial mobile HD Voice service was launched in September 2009. The momentum for introducing HD Voice is growing. HD Voice services are launched on 15 mobile networks in 14 countries across the world: Armenia, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Luxembourg, Moldova, Russia, Spain and the UK.

There are 27 models of HD Voice-capable phones from leading manufacturers that have been launched in the market.

The maximum benefits from using HD Voice on a mobile HD-capable network are realised or perceived when both the calling and called party use HD Voice-capable phones.

However, improvements in call quality are also observed even when calling a non-HD Voice phone, due to improvements in the acoustic performance and advanced noise reduction capabilities present in most HD Voice phones.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years