Orange expands HD voice rollout plans

Orange has announced that it will accelerate its roadmap for the rollout of HD voice across Europe, adding France, Spain and Luxembourg to the rollout list for 2010.
 
The operator, which launched its first HD voice enabled network in Moldova in September, had already planned to extend the service to the UK and Belgium this year.
 
HD voice services use the new adaptive multi-rate wideband (AMR-WB) codec that uses a speech bandwidth of 50-7000 Hz, compared to the current narrowband speech codec of 300-3400 Hz. This promises to produce clearer and more natural sounding audio transmission quality.
 
The operator said it will conduct a three-month customer trial in the UK, beginning in the Northern Spring.
 
Orange already uses the technology for its French fixed-line services.
 
Orange's HD voice launch in Moldova suffered due to the lack of available devices capable of taking advantage of the new technology. But Orange said it planned to rapidly expand the range of compatible handsets across Europe.
 
“As far as Orange is concerned, voice is not just a commodity,” Orange senior vice president Olaf Swantee said. “With mobile HD voice, we are delivering true customer innovation.”
 
Ovum has forecast that voice services will account for 69% of revenues on a global basis - and no less than 60% in any region – in 2014, Swantee added.
 
Orange and Ericsson have promised to show off HD voice at this week's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

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