HD Voice News Editor-in-Chief Doug Mohney discussed the state of HD voice on the VUC Google Hangout on May 17, 2013. The total discussion is about an hour and 22 minutes and can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLOX7s9MfAY
I wish the session had been HyperVoice-ed, so I and others could search the discussion rather than having to run through the whole thing. Apparently, VUC is looking at HyperVoice, but I haven’t heard anything of late.
Chess, owned by TeleSonera, has launched LTE service with support for HD voice, according to press reports out of Norway.
The translation via Google isn’t clear if Chess is currently delivering HD voice via VoLTE today/now or if VoLTE is a feature to be deployed in the future.
Chess’ launch gives Norway two carriers supporting HD voice. Telenor launched HD voice service on its 3G HSPA+ network in March.
Parent TeleSonera launched LTE commercially back in December 2009 in Sweden. It is the dominant phone company and mobile network operator in Sweden and France.
COSMOTE, the largest mobile carrier in Greece, is now offering HD voice on its 3G network.
Service was announced on June 11, 2013. COSMOTE covers over 93 percent of the country’s population and had 7.9 million subscribers in 2011.
Terms and conditions for HD voice are the same as in other countries; i.e., Callers must be on the same network, no additional charge for HD voice cals.
The iTweakiOS team (www.itweakios.com) has released a hacked version of IOS for T-Mobile USA Apple iPhones, adding HD voice support for the iPhone 4 and 4S. It will be interesting to see if the hack propagates around the world.
As previously noted by HD Voice News, the Apple iPhone 4 and 4S are both clearly capable of supporting HD voice from a hardware standpoint. Apple chose to limit use of the AMR-WB codec to the iPhone 5, most likely because it wanted people to upgrade sooner. The company has been particularly
T-Mobile rolled out support for HD voice and the AMR-WB codec in the late fall of 2012 and officially announced it at CES 2013 in January. The carrier has a policy of allowing any unlocked GSM device to connect to its network, including “jailbroken” Apple phones.
Washington D.C. – Residential handsets were in near zero quantities on the floor of The Cable Show, with the industry showing its embrace of smartphones and tablets as the primary interface to everything.
The only handset was in Arris’ booth next to a functioning model of Comcast’s XG5, known within Arris as the MG2402. Comcast plans to – some day – migrate its residential CPE to a loaded “headless” cable gateway, using it to distribute video within the home with cheaper client. The device includes support for 802.11ac, MoCA, and DECT with CAT-iq 2.0 support (firmware upgradable to 2.1).
Since CAT-iq 2.0 is full-blown HD voice using G.722 and all the bells and whistles for residential call handling, Comcast has (finally) found a piece of HD voice residential CPE it is happy with.
Comcast has not announced a timetable when or how it will start rolling out XG5, but it is unlikely that boxes will end up in households anytime before the fall of this year – or later. At least CAT-iq handset manufacturers have a new market to look forward to sometime in the future.
A demonstration in Alcatel Lucent’s booth featured a live WebRTC gateway/SBC demo between a laptop running Google’s Chrome and a SIP endpoint, the consumer-market Biscotti video conferencing device.
Biscotti doesn’t support WebRTC codecs, so the Alcatel Lucent WebRTC SBC provides transcoding between Opus and VP8 and Biscotti’s codecs. A Biscotti executive said the device supports G.722 and H.264 – an interesting revelation given when the device was initially launched back in 2011, company support personnel and PR said the device used “proprietary” codecs – and the company was “looking at” supporting Opus and VP8 via a firmware upgrade.
Intel wants more microphones in devices, good news for implementing HD voice as well as other voice-enabled functions, while Acer demoed what such devices might look like.
The dominant PC chip manufacturer is “requiring” two mics on forthcoming Haswell Ultrabooks to enable voice recognition in noisy environments, reports ZD Net. Products incorporating Intel’s new chips should be appearing this fall.
Acer’s Aspire S7-392 includes the Intel-mandated “dual-array” microphones using Acer’s proprietary PurifiedVoice technology, says Tech2, and will be available in Q3 2013.
Intel also demonstrated the Creative Senz3D peripheral camera, a motion tracking device with two camera lenses and two microphones. The webcam won’t be available to consumers until later this year, but has been shipping with Intel’s Creative Interactive Gesture Developer Kit since September 2012, saith Laptop.
A refresh of Apple’s MacBook Air expected to be unveiled at WWDC 2013 may contain dual microphones along the same lines as the high-end MacBook Pro with Retina display, according to speculation among fruit followers.
Use of two or more microphones has been going on for a while in high-end smartphones, using the multiple inputs to isolate voice from background noise. Laptop and tablets are acquiring dual microphones to aid in tasks like dictation and in other speech enabled tasks.
A June 4, 2013 Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA, www.gsacom.com) report puts the latest tally for commercial mobile HD voice networks at 73. Another 23 operators/networks are trialing HD voice, with the majority of those listed as forthcoming Voice over LTE (VoLTE) deployments. However, carriers aren’t really doing a good job talking about how much HD traffic is out there.
More specifically, 54 countries now have HD voice. Additions since the last report in January include Finland, Kenya, Taiwan, Malawi, Rwanda, Singapore, Norway, Saudi Arabia (2 carriers) and Slovakia.
If there are weakness in the regular reports, they go to statistics. Only Orange and Telstra have provided statistics to GSA on the numbers of subscribers and calls made in HD voice, and the numbers cited are from 2012 (Orange 4 million subs, up from 1 million on all of its networks in 2011; Telstra, 5 percent of all calls on its network are HD voice).
Las Vegas, Nevada – France Telecom’s over-the-top service/app Libon uses SILK as its HD voice codec for client-to-client calls. Part of the mystery behind the use of SILK was due to political considerations.
Libon wanted to use the best available codec, according to a company source, but one camp within France Telecom wanted to the independent start-up group to use AMR-WB. The group was initially reluctant to talk about the use of SILK because it didn’t want to trigger another discussion about AMR-WB vs. SILK.
Las Vegas, Nevada – Upstart over-the-top/SIM player Truphone is bringing the Opus wideband codec to its clients and network.
Ed Guy said the codec is already within its Apple iPhone client, but not yet turned on for client-to-client calling within its network. Support for Opus is also being added to the company’s other softclients, with network activation expected “within a few weeks.”
Earlier in the week, Truphone announced international shared minutes plans for businesses with voice, text, and data.
The Opus codec is also supported by CounterPath. WebRTC seems to be a driving force behind the current wave of Opus adoption, as companies work to be interoperable with the open source in-browser voice standard.
Las Vegas, NV – Spirent has launched Nomad HD, a call and voice quality measurement system. The new system provides voice quality analysis for HD voice and VoLTE services “on any device, across any network,” according to the press release.
Nomad HD incorporates Perceptual Objective Listening Quality Assessment (POLQA), the next generation voice testing algorithm to replace MOS scores. Carriers can measure and compare between legacy circuit-switched and packet-switched voice on their network. Nomad HD can simultaneously measure VoLTE voice quality, delay, and call performance “objectively, under real-world conditions” in both lab and field environments.
The system offers globally accessible service end points in the cloud; supports all mobile devices, regardless of operating system or radio access technology; and is deployable in both lab and field test configurations. Two operational modes allow carriers to address narrowband and “superwideband” communication in a single box.