Deutsche Telekom starts HD voice transcoding in Germany

Updated at 1:45 PM ET with edits

Deutsche Telekom (DT) has officially confirmed it is transcoding HD voice between its 3G mobile network and its IP-based fixed line network in Germany.  The company said it has been transcoding since October 9, 2014.

Transcoding between AMR-WB, the mobile world’s HD voice standard, and G.722 – the most popular broadband HD voice codec –- takes place automatically and there is no additional cost for subscribers if both callers are on DT’s network. 

G.722 is the codec first used in ISDN digital calls and more recently with European consumer broadband service offerings as a part of a broadband package with voice and data.  It is included in the DECT CAT-iq 2.0 standard adopted by DT, Orange, and the CableLabs consortium.  The codec is also incorporated into almost every IP desktop handset phone shipping today and most cloud business voice services, the Ooma over-the-top (OTT) consumer broadband VoIP service, and a number of Unified Communications (UC) soft clients.

DT is the first carrier to publicly announce HD voice transcoding between its wireless and wireline networks.  Orange has alluded to doing transcoding between its wireless and broadband customers, but has not made any formal announcements. U.S. carriers, it would appear, aren’t even in the ballpark yet.

The announcement comes a month after GSMA issued a white paper suggesting WebRTC should adapt the AMR-WB codec as a part of its mandatory standards in order to avoid transcoding, due to potential to lose voice quality and add delays to the call.  It appears DT has mastered the technology within its own network to be comfortable with transcoding between wireless and wireline networks.

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