Vonage kinda, sorta says no HD voice in the works

In time for the holidays, Vonage has announced Yet Another Scheme for cheaper phone calls, but the company gave no indications of plans for HD voice in 2010.

Vonage added the “Vonage World Mobile” plan to slap the Vonage World flat-rate international calling plan to its mobile platform.  Why? A spokesperson for the company said that Vonage’s “future is heavily invested in the direction the company is moving as a software development company, building on innovative solutions brought to market in 2009 like Vonage World, Vonage Mobile and now Vonage World Mobile.”

Specifically asked, “Vonage cannot comment on any plans for HD Voice at this time.”

Is implementing HD voice a software solution?  In part, yes.

Certainly, HD voice can and is delivered today through desktop softphone clients incorporating wideband codecs such as G.722.  In addition, HD voice can be delivered on a mobile device via a smartphone client on a mobile network with sufficiently robust characteristics (high bandwidth, low latency).

Rolling out HD voice on the Vonage network would, however, require the company to implement some sort of “vanilla” product for broadband users (i.e. a handset to support HD voice) — something the company is likely loath to do given all the headaches it has seen in the past in shipping and supporting hardware for plug-and-play solutions.  Software is cheap, requires little/no warehouse space or shipping, and doesn’t tie up a lot of capital.

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