France Telecom/Orange (www.orange.com) has announced it is launching mobile HD voice service in Cairo on Mobinil’s network. It is the first time mobile HD voice has been launched in the Africa and Middle East region – and blows a HD Voice News prediction that Tunisia was to be the first.
Mobinil is Egypt’s leading mobile operator and has a mobile customer base of over 28.4 million customers at the end of September 2010. FT-Orange has been present in Egypt since 1988 and is a major shareholder of Mobinil; the company also has built the Orange Labs R&D facility and operates one of its main network service centers for Orange Business Services in Egypt.
Needless to say, credit is giving to AMR-WB for mobile HD voice, as well as Mobinil’s “high quality” of its 3G network.
As of today, FT Orange now officially counts mobile HD voice service in Moldova, Armenia, Belgium, France, Spain and the United Kingdom; Orange Switzerland is testing/demoing mobile HD with an eye to roll out in 2011.
Orange countries expected to get HD voice include Luxembourg, Tunisia, and Morocco. In a presentation at CES 2010, FT-Orange had targeted Luxembourg for turn up by the end of this year and since its Mobistar subsidiary is responsible for both Belgium and Luxembourg, this would seem to be a done deal.
France Telecom turned up a shiny new “3G+” network in Tunisia earlier this year, so HD Voice News expects some sort of announcement on HD voice in the near future. Morocco is also a good candidate for an HD voice announcement down the road; FT has an initial 40 percent stake in Medi Telecom, the second largest operator in Morocco.