Tata Communications has officially announced an HD voice call routing service, joining the club of IPX providers and other intermediaries.
Mobile network operators (MNOs) would use Tata’s service to route international HD voice calls via end-to-end IP without transcoding “ensuring that HD customers calling HD-compatible destinations internationally will receive the full HD experience,” says the company’s press release.
Tata says it has 210 mobile network operators connected via IP voice interconnect with 26 operators “HD ready” and 4 operators “already in deployment for HD voice” on Tata’s network; it isn’t clear what Tata means by “HD ready.” on its press release. Further on, the company references its IPX+ service, presumable the same IPX service already being offered by BT and other carriers.
Vodafone Germany has started rolling out HD voice on its UTMS network, according to a report by Areamobile.
The carrier says is in the process of upgrading its base stations and should have the all of its work completed by the end of the summer. Vodafone had previously run trials in two northern regions of Germany.
Vodafone is a little late in deploying the service in its home territory. Deutsche Telekom has offered HD voice in Germany since November 2011. Last year, a France Telecom executive criticized the carrier for not moving fast enough in rolling out HD voice among its subsidiaries.
Other Vodafone HD voice deployments include Turkey (May 2011) and Ireland (April 2012). Testing had been announced in Portugal in October 2012 with plans to deploy the service “by the end of the calendar year,” but no official announcement has been made.
GSMA is expected to publish its v1.1 standards for HD voice logo usage—and by extension, technical standards defining what HD voice is when the logo is used – to include the CDMA wireless implementation and the wired world through adopting/partnering with the CAT-iq world.
A more detailed discussion will have to wait since HD Voice News is currently in the process of wrapping up its 2013 annual report.
Saudi Telecom Company (STC) launched HD voice on its 3G GSM network today, giving the country two operators providing wideband services.
The news bubbled up on Twitter yesterday, buried in a flurry of #HDvoice AT&T tweets. STC has a web page and video explaining the new service to customers that can be found at http://www.stc.com.sa/wps/wcm/connect/arabic/services/mobile/other/hd-voice.
STC is the largest carrier in Saudi Arabia and has operations and investments in a number of countries. Its AXIS subsidiary in Indonesia launched HD voice in January.
Last week, Saudi carrier Mobily announced HD voice service.
A senior AT&T executive has confirmed the company plans on rolling out Voice over LTE (VoLTE) later this year.
AT&T Senior Vice President of Network Technologies Kris Rinne told attendees at VentureBeat’s Mobile Summit that the company would be delivering HD voice later this year, repeating what the carrier had said previously.
Little other detail was made available, but there are two questions to consider in the bigger HD voice picture–
1) Will Apple support VoLTE over the iPhone 5?
2) Will AT&T support HD voice over its “legacy” GSM/HSPA network?
It’s anyone’s guess if Apple will support VoLTE on the iPhone 5. Given the stiff-arm Apple gave to Sprint on supporting CDMA HD voice, anything is possible. The most likely scenario is an iOS upgrade to support VoLTE, plus a distributed client app directly available from the carrier offering VoLTE.
An alternative scenario is no VoLTE support for the iPhone 5, with VoLTE tied directly to newer versions of the iPhone. As unlikely as it sounds, it is possible. The iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S both have the physical hardware to support GSM-based HD voice, but Apple only supports the iPhone 5.
AT&T has given no indication it will support HD voice on its existing GSM/HSPA network and would appear to have no incentive to support the higher quality service. The carrier wants customers to move to LTE so it can ultimately shut down its legacy GSM network, thereby saving money and allowing it to refarm spectrum to LTE for faster data rates.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) now has HD voice service through Mobily, the country’s second mobile provider.
No formal announcement has crossed the wires, but a tweet from @ttochiz points to a picture pic.twitter.com/4nb7teBZGr from Mobily’s website along with a tweet from @Mobily https://twitter.com/Mobily/status/316253506061344769
Translation issues make it difficult to extract details. Mobily sent out its tweet on March 25, but the translated web page mentions a Saturday, March 30 date.
Mobily is the first operator in KSA delivering HD voice. The service will be provided to both prepaid and postpaid customers at no additional charge.
The Middle East and Asia continue to deploy HD voice at a steady pace, leaving the Americas relatively barren with the exception of Canada (All major carriers), the Dominican Republican (A France Telecom/Orange subsidiary) and T-Mobile USA offering the service.
Telenor is delivering HD voice in Norway, reports Teknisk Ukeblad.
At the end of last week, Telenor opened up the first test of HD voice in Trondelag and the northern part of Norway on its 3G HSPA+ network. An official launch across the entire network may happen tomorrow, March 19, according to a Telenor manager.
The translated piece goes on to say both Telenor and Netcom have had plans to implement HD voice, but Telenor chose to wait while it finished its network upgrade. Telenor’s LTE launch further delayed HD voice service until now.
Telenor says about 37 percent of existing customer phones (translation isn’t clear) support AMR-WB, including most smart phones “of recent date.” Many Samsung phones will require a software upgrade to switch to AMR-WB.
A Netcom spokesperson said the company has run tests with HD voice and has had ongoing discussions as to when to launch. All software is “in place” but the network needs “work.”
If you haven’t seen postings recently,it’s because I’m in the middle of the 2013 HD Voice report. (Well, that and Mobile World Congress is over, so things should be relatively quiet until CTIA shows up in May).
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.
StarHub is launching HD voice service, the first mobile operator in Singapore in the country. The new service comes as it completes its 3G network upgrade.
HD voice will be turned on March 7, 2013, and be offered under the usual terms around the globe (No additional charges involved, have to be on net).
StarHub subscribers need to use HD voice capable handsets and be a subscriber under one of the company’s StarSurf plans. The operator says HD voice will be “progressively enabled” for customers under its other mobile price plans by the third quarter of 2013.
The carrier currently carriers 19 HD voice handsets, including Apple iPhone 5, BlackBerry Z10, LG Optimus G, Samsung GALAXY Note II LTE, Samsung GALAXY S III LTE and Sony Xperia Z.
Most interesting, StarHub hinted it will be interconnecting with other carriers in short order.
“With a growing number of mobile operators committed to rolling out HD Voice commercially, StarHub customers will be able to make high-quality international mobile calls on their HD Voice handset in the near future,” said the press release.
BT Wholesale recently opened up an IPX hub in Singapore, the obvious choice to interconnect with other carriers.