By Olubunmi Adeniyi
A recent report from GSA, which represents leading GSM, 3G/WCDMA-HSPA and LTE suppliers confirmed the statistics citing that 51 mobile networks in 38 countries have launched HD voice services.
Mobile HD voice uses Adaptive Multi Rate Wideband technology (W-AMR, standardised by 3GPP), enabling high-quality voice calls in supporting mobile networks and an improved user experience.
It provides significantly higher voice quality for calls between mobile phones supporting the feature, and it is market reality on numerous GSM, WCDMA-UMTS and LTE networks today, GSA says.
According to the industry group, HD voice service is offered by competing mobile operators in 11 markets including Austria, Canada, Croatia, France, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey and UK.
On the number of models of HD voice phones in the market, the GSA report confirmed that 127 phones supporting HD voice (W-AMR) have been announced by 14 manufacturers, including the most popular brands and products for professional broadcasters.
The association said this figure compares with 52 HD voice phones which had been announced a year ago, adding that most of these devices operate on 3G/HSPA networks, with some working on GSM networks and some on LTE networks (VoLTE).
Alan Hadden, President of GSA, says that, “the number of models of HD voice phones which have been announced more than doubled in the past year, and over 50 networks have launched HD voice service. To continue the market development, all smartphones need to ship with W-AMR activated by default.”
According to him, “there is a strong business case for Mobile HD voice. Customers make more or longer calls with HD voice and highly value the service. HD voice helps operators to clearly differentiate their offerings and enable high quality services to voice dependent business like call center services, information services, and emergency services, among others.”
Hadden notes that 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; he says adding that, “The maximum benefits from using HD voice on a mobile HD-capable network are realised 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 reduction capabilities which are present in most HD voice phones.”
According to GSA, HD voice services are commercially launched on mobile networks in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mauritius, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Uganda and UK, among others.