Ericsson demos HD voice on CDMA–but will it sell?

Today, Ericsson ( announced a successful demonstration of a an HD voice call CDMA using the EVRC-NW (Enhanced Variable Rate Codec-Narrowband-Wideband) codec in a lab environment using Ericsson CDMA gear, claiming a technical first for the CDMA industry. It’s an interesting release since Qualcomm been demoing HD voice for year and the Ericsson release cites cooperation between its CDMA team and Qualcomm to make it happen.

Qualcomm has been demonstrating HD voice since at least 2009 and has made at least one run over to Verizon Wireless to show off its CDMA technology.

It’s not clear if this release is the harbinger of further announcements at CTIA’s show next week or merely some marketing food-for-thought; given the announcement says the CDMA HD voice demo took place in a lab, it’s likely the latter, rather than the former.

CDMA has been the stepchild of the cellular industry of late, especially since Verizon Wireless decided to embrace LTE – an evolution of GSM-based networks. With most of the world already on the move to either GSM/HSPA 3G or LTE, CDMA has been pretty much stuck in place.

Complicating matters further is the EVRC-NW codec.  Yes, it’s a wideband/HD voice codec, but carriers are already having to support transcoding for G.722 and AMR-WB (Or W-AMR) plus the narrowband codecs.  Adding EVRC-NW is another support headache to the mix.

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