Indian-based Bharti Airtel has launched HD voice service for its subscribers in Kenya, Rwanda and Malawi according to news wire reports, adding the company’s earlier launch in Nigeria . Airtel says it “aims to make HD voice a reality on the continent” with further launches this year.
A spokesperson for Airtel says the company is the third operator to launch mobile HD voice service in Africa; all previous announcements have been from France Telecom/Orange, so HD Voice News is not sure who the third carriers is.
Bharti Airtel launched HD voice service in Nigeria at the end of 2012. Its launch of service in Kenya means that country now has two HD voice providers, with Orange being the other. It will be interesting to watch for other carrier announcements in Africa, as well as competition between Bharti and Orange in the area.
Bharti’s rollout plans for Africa also give new weight to Nokia’s support of HD voice in its 301 feature phone announced at Mobile World Congress. The 301 costs $86 and has 39 days (yes days) of standby life on a 3G network on a full battery charge, with 6 hours of talk time or up to 20 hours of talk time on a 2G network.