Editorial–Why CES 2012 should count big time for HD voice

This year’s CES (more formally, the International Consumer Electronics Show 2012) should be a Big Deal for HD voice in the mobile and cable space.

Mobile and AMR-WB should get solid play, between the proliferation of HD voice among carriers in Europe and the forthcoming arrival of VoLTE in North America for Verizon Wireless.  AT&T and Sprint probably won’t want to be left behind in the VoLTE discussion since both expect to deploy the service in 2013 – look for the phrase “VoLTE ready” handset in North America.

I’ll be shocked if I don’t hear all the major handset manufacturers include “HD voice” or “HD voice ready” in new product introductions.

Bluetooth manufacturers will hopefully be more clueful this year; there was a shameless ignorance among North American reps last year, while companies more attuned to world markets were at least aware of HD voice deployments and demand around the globe in the GSM world.

No doubt Ericsson and Qualcomm will (once again) be promoting HD voice over CDMA.  It remains to be seen if HD voice deployments on North American LTE networks will be a pull-through for HD voice on CDMA.

The North American cable industry should be shopping for two or three types of HD voice hardware.  First, there’s the legacy solution that uses an analog HD voice phone (7 kHz sampling instead of 3 kHz) plugged into the FXO port of existing cable set top devices, with the device software upgraded to handle G.722 and 7 kHz sampling across the FXO port.  Cablevision and others are reviewing off-the-shelf IP solutions for consumer use.   Finally, there’s CAT-iq 2.0 for new installations, with later versions of CAT-iq providing network support for home monitoring/security applications.

Outside of North America, the story is CAT-iq 2.0 on xDSL and cable, with more vendors rolling 2.0 support into their products, especially for their white-label service provider lines.   Deutsche Telekom has already started adding CAT-iq 2.0 products into its consumer CPE and France Telecom is a big CAT-iq 2.0 supporter.

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