Thanks to all who forwarded along pointers
France-Telecom Orange has announced it is bringing mobile HD voice service to the United Kingdom in 2010, making Britain the first major market (nothing personal, Moldova) to get the promise of wideband calls on mobile handsets. Two years of “considerable investment” in Orange’s UK mobile network have taken place, say company officials, enabling the network to support HD
Subscribers who want HD voice will have to get new handsets — maybe the new Sony Ericsson Greenheart models or Nokia’s AMR-WB phone already in operation in Moldova — and will receive call quality that makes “it sound as if callers are actually in the same room” said Orange UK Chief executive Tom Alexander.
Orange will roll out HD voice trials in the new year and a nationwide introduction “later in 2010” says The Guardian. While the Guardian story says Orange is working with handset manufacturers to develop devices that can support the new service, if you’ve already got Nokia and Sony Ericsson onboard, the rest are bound to follow.
Hopefully Thomas Lemaire of France Telecom will have more to share at the HD Voice Summit at 2010 CES next week on Wednesday, January 6, 2010; Lemaire will be speaking at 1:30 PM at the Las Vegas Convention Center, N256. On-site registration is $395.
Previously, France Telecom has discussed its HD voice deployment plans, indicating back in May 2009 that they were going to roll out mobile HD voice service to the UK and Belgium.
Analysts in the UK believe Orange is using HD voice to go after frustrated O2 customers; O2 seems to have some AT&T-like networking provisioning problems when it comes to supporting the iPhone and higher data volumes, with customers unable to make calls.