T-Mobile USA launches HD voice at CES 2013; AT&T next?

Las Vegas, Nevada – T-Mobile USA has pulled the trigger on HD voice for its HSPA network, starting the clock for other mobile carriers in the United States to match the feature.  And yes, it is the first U.S. wireless provider to launch HD Voice nationwide on its HSPA network.

HD Voice News tips its hat to DSL Reports for spotting engineering data in December indicating a rollout of AMR-WB as a supported codec within its HSPA network. Phones officially listed in the release include “Capable T-Mobile 4G smartphones”  including HTC One S, Nokia Astound and the Samsung Galaxy S III.

More broadly, any Android smartphone released in the past year already has support for AMR-WB.  The Apple iPhone 5 also supports AMR-WB, but it will likely be Apple to approve that feature on T-Mobile’s network before T-Mobile can start bragging about it.

T-Mobile has beaten AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon to the punch in rolling out HD voice. Sprint had talked up HD voice for its upgraded CDMA network using 1X Advanced in the spring of 2012 with an in-service of late 2012 – it failed.  Verizon Wireless planned to introduce Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in 2012, but issues with cleanly handing off calls between its existing CDMA and LTE networks have apparently forced it to delay VoLTE consumer tests until late 2013.

AT&T has said it will launch VoLTE in 2013, perhaps as early as the second quarter of this year. It’s an open question if AT&T will turn up HD voice on its existing HSPA network, since it could do so in short order with some software changes – as amply demonstrated by T-Mobile USA.

Please stay tuned to this website, as we expect more commentary and news in the days ahead.

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