Mobile HD Voice Better for Business, but International Mobile HD Voice in Early Stages of Development

Joel Stradling
Joel Stradling

Summary Bullets:

  • Mobile HD voice is likely to benefit your business: both parties can hear each other more clearly and experiments prove call length increases with HD voice
  • HD voice codecs will be the norm in voice-over-LTE deployments
  • Your mobile device must support Wideband Adaptive Multi Rate (W-AMR) technology  to conduct HD voice calls

HD voice is delivered using wide-band audio, which results in far more natural sounding conversation. Consider a multi-lingual global business environment, with wheeling and dealing taking place over traditional crackly narrow-band, and it’s reasonable to assume that your sales force, technical support teams, and customer support would benefit from more articulate conversations with customers that are on their mobile handsets. Enterprise users that have IP telephony solutions in place are familiar with landline HD voice for internal or branch-to-branch calls, with multiple vendors supporting wide-band voice plus better audio components in their handsets, including for example Cisco, Avaya and Polycom; while UC hubs such as MS Lync also support HD voice. However, the reach of HD voice is limited to what’s going on the other end – namely if the call terminates on a traditional PSTN and regular handset, the call is not going to be in full HD!

Mobile operators have recognized that mobile HD voice is a real opportunity and we expect a strong drive in 2013 for international HD voice exchanges to be rolled out, such as France Telecom-Orange International Carriers’ recent announcement that it can support international mobile HD voice on behalf of other mobile operators using the carrier’s all-IP based international HD voice platform. Similarly, Tata Communications states that its ‘Voice Direct Transit’ service for MNOs supports HD voice support on its IP core. Finally, BT Wholesale has been very active in developing HD voice for fixed and mobile providers with several real-use cases. In terms of commercials, the signs are encouraging as mobile operators are mostly including mobile HD voice in the existing bundles as they wield the ‘better call quality’ carrot in their bids to differentiate and gain subscribers. On the down side, this means that HD voice calls that are included ‘free-of-charge’ (you are, after all, paying for the subscription) are probably going to be limited to on-net only until more mass market adoption takes place, as well as national and international HD roaming agreements between carriers and MNOs.



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