France Telecom has launched a major offensive for HD voice today, declaring it wants to “open up” the use of HD Voice communications by 2013. The company says it now has one million (1M) mobile HD voice users, and has further launches planned this year, particularly in the AMEA (Africa, Middle East, and Asia) region. And there’s broadband HD voice and interoperability news as well bundled in.
In June, the Dominican Republic will officially come on line – as well as Uganda.
Between now and the end of this year, Switzerland and “three countries in the AMEA region” will also be launching mobile HD service, making a total of 16 countries between those coming and those in operation.
Orange says it currently has 10 countries up: Moldova, Armenia, Belgium, France (mainland France and Reunion), Spain (Catalonia), the UK, Egypt (Cairo), Luxembourg, Mauritius and Romania.
Supporting those one million mobile customers are over 20 mobile handsets.
Fixed-line broadband HD voice service will be launched in Spain, Poland, and Tunisia in 2011, with “other countries” showing a “significant interest” in launching service in 2012. According to Orange, fixed HD voice already has 800,000 customers.
Supporting the fixed-line push is the Samsung SMTW3510, the “first high definition voice fixed phone,” according to Orange. Ignoring the media hype, this is the first phone being deployed in a mass market supporting CAT-iq 2.0.
Finally, France Telecom outlined its plans for interoperability to offer “seamless” HD voice service – but it’s going to take up to two years.
In 2012/2013, France Telecom will provide HD voice interoperability between Orange countries and also between the fixed and mobile networks in a given country; HD Voice News assumes that’s full-up transcoding between G.722 fixed and AMR-WB/mobile networks, as well as seamless calling between countries.
By 2013, France Telecom expects interoperability between "the various operators” based on “common standards” such as CAT-iq 2.0 and AMR-WB.
And if that wasn’t enough to chew on, France Telecom is also looking at extending HD voice service to its 2G networks – something which has already been hinted at as its UK network gets upgraded by Huawei.