HD Voice available on GSM, HSPA and LTE networks in 35 countries

Mobile high-definition voice services are catching on worldwide, with launches reported on 45 networks in 35 countries, according to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).

Mobile HD Voice uses adaptive multi-rate wideband technology (W-AMR), which was standardized by 3GPP. "The maximum benefits from using HD Voice on a mobile HD-capable network are realized or perceived when both calling and called parties use HD Voice-capable phones. Improvements in call quality are also often observed even when calling a non-HD Voice phone, due to improvements in the acoustic performance and advanced noise," said GSA.

HD Voice services are available on a variety of networks, including GSM, HSPA and LTE, said the group. HD Voice services are commercially launched in almost 60 percent of European Union member countries, the association added, noting operator investments in mobile HD Voice extend far beyond Europe.

"The number of operators offering commercial HD Voice service has increased by 40 percent in under a year. Initially HD voice service was offered on HSPA networks, followed by GSM. HD voice is now market reality on LTE systems with the first wave of commercial VoLTE service launches announced in South Korea," said Alan Hadden, GSA president.

In early August, South Korea's largest operator, SK Telecom, and the third largest, LG U+, launched VoLTE with HD Voice service. Almost all commercial VoLTE launches worldwide are expected to eventually support HD Voice.

MetroPCS (NYSE:PCS) was the first U.S. operator to launch VoLTE, and Ed Chao, the operator's senior vice president of engineering, has said, "We can turn on HD voice. We can turn on simultaneous voice and data services. It's just software to add new services."

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) indicated early last month that it is preparing to launch its HD Voice service by the end of the year for the HTC EVO 4G LTE and expects much of its network and devices to support HD Voice by the end of 2014, according to Phone Scoop.

More than 80 HD Voice-enabled mobile phones are now available, including products for professional broadcasters, said GSA, and many new phone models are delivered with W-AMR activated as the default.

According to the association, customers tend to make more, or longer, calls with HD Voice. The feature is expected to help carriers deliver high-quality services to voice-dependent businesses such as call centers, information services and emergency services.

"HD Voice is also ideal for conference calls and can contribute to a reduction in business travel and raise productivity while reducing the environmental impact. Calls which are easier to hear and understand reduce the fatigue typically associated with long conference calls," said GSA.

For more:
- see this GSA release

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