Deutsche Telekom starts HD voice transcoding in Germany

Updated at 1:45 PM ET with edits

Deutsche Telekom (DT) has officially confirmed it is transcoding HD voice between its 3G mobile network and its IP-based fixed line network in Germany.  The company said it has been transcoding since October 9, 2014.

Transcoding between AMR-WB, the mobile world’s HD voice standard, and G.722 – the most popular broadband HD voice codec –- takes place automatically and there is no additional cost for subscribers if both callers are on DT’s network. 

G.722 is the codec first used in ISDN digital calls and more recently with European consumer broadband service offerings as a part of a broadband package with voice and data.  It is included in the DECT CAT-iq 2.0 standard adopted by DT, Orange, and the CableLabs consortium.  The codec is also incorporated into almost every IP desktop handset phone shipping today and most cloud business voice services, the Ooma over-the-top (OTT) consumer broadband VoIP service, and a number of Unified Communications (UC) soft clients.

DT is the first carrier to publicly announce HD voice transcoding between its wireless and wireline networks.  Orange has alluded to doing transcoding between its wireless and broadband customers, but has not made any formal announcements. U.S. carriers, it would appear, aren’t even in the ballpark yet.

The announcement comes a month after GSMA issued a white paper suggesting WebRTC should adapt the AMR-WB codec as a part of its mandatory standards in order to avoid transcoding, due to potential to lose voice quality and add delays to the call.  It appears DT has mastered the technology within its own network to be comfortable with transcoding between wireless and wireline networks.

Editorial: Snapshots of HD voice progress this month at TMCnet

I have  pair of articles on TMC discussing the latest progress of HD voice in the United States and around the globe.

For the U.S.–

http://www.techzone360.com/topics/techzone/articles/2014/09/22/389525-hd-voice-now-available-all-major-us-wireless.htm

HD voice has finally arrived on all four major U.S. wireless carriers. However, users should be aware of the different issues and potential problems with some carriers. 

Verizon launched Voice over LTE (VoLTE) last week, but only supports four phones and lost support for name and company name Caller ID info in the process (Not what I’d call Advanced Calling 1.0; more like Advanced Calling 0.9 when you LOSE features associated with analog calling).  You’ll also drop calls when moving between VoLTE and CDMA networks (Advanced Calling 0.8, maybe?)

Worldwide, HD voice is available on 116 mobile operators in 75 countries.

http://www.mobilitytechzone.com/topics/4g-wirelessevolution/articles/2014/09/24/389633-worldwide-mobile-hd-voice-stats-estimates-paint-interesting.htm

The kickers here are 3G HSPA operators playing catch up with the rest of the world and the forthcoming wave of VoLTE deployments that will roll out between the end of the year and the end of 2015.

As always, HD voice interoperability (i.e., being able to make seamless end-to-end HD voice calls across/regardless of network) looms large as the next big step for the mobile world. The SBC guys are going to have a field day over the next three years.

– Doug

AT&T talks VoLTE interoperability at CTIA 2014

AT&T SVP Kris Rinne, said the carrier is working with others on enabling direct VoLTE calls between networks, saith LightReading.

Deployment of VoLTE on AT&T’s network is being done on a market-by-market basis, due in part because of the need to adjust network traffic to be more symmetrical.

Sprint: 16 million customers have access to HD voice

A Sprint executive stated that 16 million customers have access to its HD voice service through its Qualcomm-based technology, but it wants a “solid” VoLTE experience before it releases the service, according to a report in Fierce Wireless and from others in attendance.

Speaking at the 4G World conference, Chief Network Officer Dr. John Saw said Sprint offers 30 regular model smartphones and 33 prepaid handsets with HD voice capability.

Bigger Apple iPhones support VoLTE

In yesterday’s launch of Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, the company announced support for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) with the new hardware.  Apple’s comparison chart between the 5 and 6 families indicates only the new phones will support VoLTE, so prepare to open your wallet.

With three out of four (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon by end of year) offering VoLTE, Apple had to offer VoLTE at some point in time. Various Android models have supported VoLTE for over a year while Microsoft added it into the Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 released over the summer.

The iPhone 5s and 5c support HD voice on HSPA networks with the service, so there are plenty of iPhones already making HD voice calls.  Sprint quietly rolled out support for its Qualcomm-specific version of HD voice on the iPhone 5s/5c over the summer.

For current iPhone 5s/5c owners, there’s a possibility that a “Jailbreak” version of iOS could support VoLTE on their hardware. Earlier jailbreaks have provided HD voice support to the iPhone 4s and 5 on HSPA networks. 

CTIA next week

HD Voice News Editor-in-Chief Doug Mohney will be in Las Vegas for CTIA next week from Monday evening, September 8 through Wednesday, September 10.

He is taking meetings on those days and will be at the MobileFocus event on September 9.

Contact him directly at moo@vegascommando.com

South Africa gets HD voice through MTN

MTN officially launched HD voice on its 3G network in August, according to Ventures Africa and other sources.

The service is only available on 3G at this time.

Telenor Denmark launches HD voice on 3G network

A brief in telecompaper says Telenor Demark has turned up HD voice across its 3G network after tests in North Jutland over the summer.  Devices supported include the iPhone 5, 5S, 5C; HTC’s One, One X and One V; Samsung Galaxy S4 and S5, Nokia Lumina and various Sony Experia models.

Editorial: An update

HD Voice News has been on a hiatus of sorts over the past 60 to 90 days due to a variety of factors. 

Editor-in-Chief Doug Mohney will be at CTIA (I know they call it something else these days, but it is CTIA and in Vegas next month).  We expect to resume more regular publishing around September 2 or so.

Sprint retailer spams #HDvoice on Twitter

One or more Sprint retail stores seem to be determined to spam out Sprint’s use of HD voice on Twitter, with anywhere from at least four to six user IDs/employees in the Portland, Oregon engaging in a shoveling campaign of comments and pictures.

All the user accounts with a Oregon association seem to have been relatively inactive until anywhere from 24 to 48 hours ago, with at least one Twitter account appearing to dormant for over a year.