Ibasis announces IPX interconnect between Poland and The Netherlands

KPN subsidiary iBasis this week announced an HD voice interconnection between Poland mobile operator P4 and KPN in the Netherlands.  Subscribers of PLAY, the P4 mobile brand, and KPN mobile can now directly make end-to-end mobile HD voice to each other across their respective networks.

The two carriers use iBasis’s IPX service, Premium Voice over IPX (PV-IPX), for exchanging HD voice calls.  IBasis says PV-IPX provides any necessary transcoding between wideband and narrowband codecs if necessary. 

Both PLAY and KPN launched mobile HD voice service is 2012.

IBasis has announced a number of IPX agreements, but this appears to be the first formally announced international HD voice interconnection agreement of its type between two different carriers.  In 2012, Orange announced its subsidiaries in Moldova and Romania were able to exchange HD voice calls, but the company has had no follow-on announcements.

Hong Kong Telecom (HKT) launches VoLTE

On May 15, Hong Kong Telecom (HKT)announced the launch of Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service, marking the third VoLTE announcement within a week.

HKT is supporting the Samsung Note 3 for VoLTE customers.   Huawei is featured as the core network vendor in the VoLTE rollout. 

Consumers Digest brief on AT&T HD voice launch

Consumers Digest ran a piece on May 16 discussing AT&T’s HD voice launch–

http://www.consumersdigest.com/news/despite-tech-hurdles-att-will-launch-hd-voice-service

You’ll note HD Voice News predicts all carriers will be running HD Voice networks by mid-2015 with interconnectivity not happening until 2016.  The fuller answer given to Consumers Digest ran to about a page or so of complexity and explains.

NTT DoCoMo launching HD voice, VoLTE in June

Japan’s largest mobile operator said it plans to launch Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in late June.  Callers will be able to make HD voice calls simultaneously with a data connection, according to reports.

Four smart phones and two tablets offered by the carrier will  be able to conduct VoLTE calls after a software upgrade scheduled in or around late June.

Data charges for VoLTE-based video calls will be offered free of charge until September 2015, after which those calls will incur both voice and data charges.

This week marks the second major carrier to officially commit to VoLTE deployment this week. AT&T announced it will roll out VoLTE in four markets on May 26.

Rumor: Apple iPhone 6 will support VoLTE

Sources near Silicon Valley say Apple won’t be supporting Voice over LTE (VoLTE) until it releases the iPhone 6 this fall. 

Currently, the Apple iPhone 5/5c/5s supports HD voice on 3G/HSPA-esque networks; this includes nearly all of the overseas HD voice deployments, plus the T-Mobile US network. 

According to Sprint’s website, the iPhone 5s/5c supports HD voice – since the carrier currently supports HD voice using Qualcomm’s 1X Advanced CDMA technology, take it for what it is.

Editorial: AT&T officially announced HD voice support via VoLTE

I’m currently working through a couple of pieces for publication over at TMCnet on the official (press release, not rumored, not CTO-dropping buzzwords and vague dates) AT&T announcement for HD voice support in limited markets.

Consumers Digest is working on an HD voice piece.  I feel sorry for the reporter, because he asked about interoperability and I had to send him over a page of answers and discussions.

Summary bits–

1) AT&T is releasing VoLTE in four “select” markets: Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

2) Expansion will continue on a market-by-market basis

3) Only phone supported/mentioned for VoLTE at this time is Samsung Galaxy S4 mini.  No word/indication on firmware upgrades for existing LTE phones in customer’s hands.  Doubtlessly there will be more phones.

4) Nothing on supporting HD voice over existing 3G/HSPA network – no surprise, since AT&T wants everyone migrated onto LTE in the future

5) No discussion on interop

The Mass Media seems to be missing the boat on carrier HD voice interoperability and the coming mess for consumer confusion. Ah well.

- Doug

Fierce Wireless: Verizon will have VoLTE, HD voice in 2014

Verizon Wireless says it will have VoLTE with HD voice via AMR-WB this year, according to a piece in FierceWireless Tech.

Multiple sources are cited, including a statement by a Verizon Wireless spokesperson saying VoLTE will come out sometime in 2014 and a research note by Credit Suisse predicting VoLTE will be introduced in the second half of this year.

Engadget: AT&T to launch VoLTE in Chicago, Minneapolis this month

AT&T is going to roll out VoLTE in Chicago and Minneapolis by the end of May, according to a report by Engadget.  If correct, AT&T will beat Verizon out of the gate for the first U.S. VoLTE HD voice deployment.

MetroPCS deployed a non-standard version of VoLTE in 2012, going with a narrowband codec instead of the mandated AMR-WB.

Launch date for AT&T VoLTE is expected to be on May 23, according to Engadget sources. AT&T says it is “wrapping up” initial market trials with markets ready for VoLTE this year.

No indication when AT&T would be able to deliver VoLTE nationwide, but there’s been a lot of HD voice buzz over the last 24 hours between Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon.

Vodafone New Zealand boasts 400,000 HD voice customers

This week, Vodafone New Zealand announced it had more than 400,000 customers that had “access” to HD voice service on its network – assuming HD voice capable phones. 

Vodafone launched HD voice service in New Zealand in November 2013 and now boasts it has 21 HD-voice capable devices in its portfolio.

New York Times piece on mobile HD voice and call quality

The New York Times published a piece on HD voice coming to the U.S. market via Sprint and T-Mobile.

“With HD Voice, Better Call Quality Is Coming. Text Your Friends” does a good job of capturing the painful history of cellular carriers delivering HD voice in the U.S.

The two most revealing points within the piece:

1) AT&T and Verizon wouldn’t respond to inquires on HD voice.  HD Voice News is not surprised, given the problems continue to have with VoLTE.

2) An assertion by a representative of the GSM Association (GSMA) that Sprint will be able to exchange HD voice calls with other carriers because it uses the GSMA HD voice logo.  This is an interesting assertion, given that there are no formal documents out of GSMA on how HD voice calls would be moved between the CDMA world (Sprint) to other network technologies (GSM and LTE).

Hopefully GSMA will provide a more detailed answer at some point rather than “If they have the HD voice logo, they should be interoperable.”