2/3/2010 11:51:00 AM
3 set to launch HD voice calls
3 is to launch high definition voice calls this year on a
range of specially enabled handsets.
3's HD voice plans were revealed at an HD voice demonstration at
its headquarters in Maidenhead last week.
Speaking at the demonstration, 3's service strategy director,
Carl Taylor, said the operator's HD voice rollout would begin
'within the next 12 months'.
He added that over the course of 2010 'a number of HD enabled
handsets will come to market', and said that he expected all of
3's handsets to be HD enabled 'over the two and a half year
[handset] churn rate'.
HD voice technology delivers significantly better sound quality
on mobile calls by operating on a much wider audio bandwidth.
Known as WB-AMR (Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate), it ranges from
50Hz to 7,000Hz, compared with the current narrow band speech
codec of 300Hz to 3,400Hz.
HD voice will only be available on 3G networks. Taylor said 3
'does not anticipate that HD voice calls will cost more'. Nor
will HD enabled handsets be significantly more expensive
as the modifications are chip based, he added.
Taylor dismissed concerns that HD voice would put additional
strain on network capacity. He commented: 'It is only a tiny
incremental increase in voice traffic so the difference will be
Taylor said VoIP businesses, international call centres, voice to
text engines and the emergency services would all benefit from
the increased clarity of HD voice calls. 'This is not just about
mobile to mobile calls,' he added.
3 said its HD enabled handsets would eventually work across all
UK networks. The GSMA is currently working with all UK operators
to ensure the interoperability of the technology across all UK
operators, with network-to-network tests starting early
Orange launched its own 'HD Voice' service in January this year;
other networks are expected to follow suit.
Jeremy Green, mobile analyst at Ovum, said: 'This is not a major
technological break through - since the technology has been
around for some time. Nor will it make any more money for the
operators; they can't charge it as a premium service since it is
'However, it is a good thing because voice quality has been the
Achilles' heel of the mobile industry and this will help push
along the huge shift we are seeing in voice traffic from fixed to