Mobile HD voice in Croatia – and NOT Orange

Thanks to Gaurav Singla of Ericsson for providing the tip

Buried in a press release from Croatia (Original announcement of 9/22/10 here), Vipnet Communications is launching mobile HD voice services in Croatia in “early October,” with devices available in November (if we can trust Google Translate).

Needless to say, mobile HD is being delivered via AMR-WB and Ericsson has (likely) supplied the 3G network core technology to enable it. Earlier this week, Vipnet was certified as the best Croatian mobile network by German-based P3 Communications.

A part of the Telekom Austria group, VIPnet’s announcement makes the third unique European carrier group to announce mobile HD voice service, joining FT/Orange and SFR.

Telekom Austria includes A1 Telekom Austria, Mobitel (Bulgaria), Vipnet (Croatia), Mobikom Lichtenstein, Vip operator (Macedonia), Vip mobile (Serbia), Si.mobile (Slovenia) and Velcom (Belarus). In total, the group has more than 2.3 million fixed line customer and over 18.9 million mobile customers.

If Telekom Austria is following the model of Orange rollouts, the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, Liechtenstein, Serbia and Macedonia all bear watching.  A1 is the market leader in Austria while Macedonia and Serbia are relatively new (2007) operators, so they might be the next markets to get mobile HD. In addition, A1 is facing price pressure and “fierce competition” on the mobile side, so rolling out mobile HD is likely to be the next step to retain customers in Austria.

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