Sprint: iPhone 5 doesn’t support HD voice “at this time.”

"Sprint does not support HD voice on the iPhone 5 at this time” is the sole comment coming out of Sprint’s PR representative as of the afternoon of September 13. When asked to clarify exactly what that meant, the spokesperson repeated the phrase exactly, word for word. Is the glass half empty, half full, or broken?

It does beg a bigger question: If Sprint made such a huge commitment to buy the Apple iPhone, why didn’t it get Apple to bend a little to support HD voice from the get-go?  (Especially given Sprint’s promotion of HD voice as a feature starting this spring.)

The phrase “at this time” could imply, maybe, kinda-sorta there might be HD voice support of some sort down the road.   Given Apple’s paranoid penchant for security, it could be that US carriers just haven’t had the chance to get iPhone 5 test units to confirm that it will support VoLTE and (in the case of Sprint) CDMA HD voice.

The Sprint iPhone 5 appears to be the dual-mode CDMA/VoLTE model. For HD voice suport, the questions are two-fold–

1) Will the iPhone 5 support HD voice over Sprint’s CDMA 1X Advanced upgraded network?

2) Will the iPhone 5 support HD voice over Sprint’s LTE network when Sprint introduces Voice over LTE (VoLTE)?

1) Will the iPhone 5 support HD voice over Sprint’s CDMA 1X Advanced upgraded network?

To support 1X Advanced, HD Voice News believes the Apple iPhone 5 would have to incorporate a Qualcomm chipset with 1X Advanced support built in.  Until someone buys and takes apart an iPhone 5, it is unknown exactly what part from Qualcomm is in the iPhone 5, but speculation revolves around Qualcomm’s MDM9615 modem supporting LTE (FDD and TDD), DS-HSPA+, EV-DO Rev-B and TD-SCDMA – and 1X Advanced.

In theory, this would mean the Apple iPhone 5 could support the CDMA 1X Advanced version of HD voice using Qualcomm’s EVRC-NW codec.  But someone would have to code, test, and verify with Sprint’s upgraded network that CDMA HD voice works.

Apple has spoken of “compromises” when it built the iPhone 5. Was putting CDMA HD voice support on the back burner one of them?

 

2) Will the iPhone 5 support HD voice over Sprint’s LTE network when Sprint (and for that matter other US carriers introduces Voice over LTE (VoLTE)?

LTE is being rolled out worldwide and is a natural growth path for GSM networks. 

One of the primary indicators will be when the iPhone 5 appears in South Korea at the end of this month.  SK Telecom already has VoLTE in operation and KT plans to introduce it in October.  It would be extremely surprising if Apple and South Korean service providers introduced a phone that didn’t support VoLTE in the near-term.

“At this time” could indicate that Sprint could provide iPhone 5 HD voice  via LTE when it introduces VoLTE, assuming there’s no esoteric back-end reason why VoLTE can’t run on the iPhone 5.

HD Voice News is currently querying Verizon to see if it will provide a simple answer for the iPhone 5 supporting VoLTE in the future. 

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.