HD Voice from Orange will make me happy

One of the reasons Skype was so successful — at least in the early days — was in part due to geek wonderment. I remember watching my father — who started his career installing telephones for British Telecom — giggle with delight at the technology which enabled us to talk across vast distances with magnificent audio clarity.

The ability to converse with friends and business colleagues ‘properly’ has always been one of the best things about Skype.

I wonder, then, what the introduction of Orange’s Mobile HD Voice will do for the market?

High Definition Mobile Voice will apparently enable ‘crystal clear superior sound quality’ for Orange UK customers. In order to get this clarity, you will need to have an ‘HD enabled’ handset — something Orange is working on with handset manufacturers.

I can imagine this becoming a preference for me. I can really see my friends and colleagues shifting to a service such as this — if it performs to expectation. Of course, quality of network (i.e. signal) is still going to be important. It’s no good being able to converse in ‘HD audio’ if the network is continually busy.

I look forward to seeing the trials! There’s a little more information about the announcement at Orange’s newsroom.

I am also happy to see some innovation in this segment of the marketplace. Good stuff, Orange.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

6 replies on “HD Voice from Orange will make me happy”

So correct if I am wrong here, you are happy to pay (I presume it will be a premium) for quality that you should be getting in the first place?
Can the real Ewan please come back?
I'm scared 🙂

I am convinced that Orange will try use it as a money spinner, lots of the old VOIP guys now getting into the HD voice area, just connect me on the quality I have and I am fine.
Dropped calls wont be solved by HD voice, its a function of the network and that's my only mobile issue, not quality just dropped calls

In my opinion this a result of two trends:
– Operators trying to extract further juice from plain old voice and
– operators trying to introduce tiered pricing.

AMR-WB is a welcome addition in mobile and if implemented well, it will probably be a nice feature. However, I see it becoming mainstream when inter-operator HD voice happens. Lets hope Orange will get others interested too (but I haven't heard anyone else implementing or trailing it).

I am delighted to see one of the mainstream UK MNOs looking to launch AMR-WB as a consumer offering.

I will be interested to see how they tackle some of the interesting technical challenges involved in deploying this – whilst the AMR-WB codec is present in many handsets, accessing it for telephony purposes is not always trivial – and there as all the existing MNO infrastructure is based on narrow band (8kHz) backbone, the only time that users will get HD voice will be when iterworking with another HD device!

Perhaps one of the most useful applications for this service will be with HD conferencing and/or interworking with Skype?

T-Mobile ran a 200 user trial in Germany back in Summer 2006 –

The conclusion of this was that it was just too difficult to graft a wideband (16 kHz) technology onto a legacy (8 kHz) infrastructure.

The only way of making this work is to implement a completely new voice infrastructure (running at 16 kHz) for the HD users to operate on.

Also, it has to be remembered that the HD benefits will only be visible when used between HD-capable end points. Any communications involving legacy 8kHz end points will drag the voice quality down to the lowest common denominator.

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