Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel talks HD Voice

The local paper in Milwaukee wrote about the coming of HD voice to town, available here–

http://www.jsonline.com/business/high-definition-voice-service-coming-to-wisconsin-b99273630z1-260054661.html

“High-definition cellphone service coming to Wisconsin,” discusses the arrive of AT&T’s VoLTE service, why it is better than standard definition, and the problems HD Voice News sees in interoperability between carrier HD networks.

T-Mobile US launches VoLTE in Seattle

One-upping AT&T and Verizon, T-Mobile US announced it has launched Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service in Seattle with support for three devices.

T-Mobile’s statement came in a blog posting from CTO Neville Ray.  Devices supported at launch are the LG G Flex, Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light, with devices currently in customer hands requiring the latest over-the-air software upgrade.

One feature highlighted in today’s announcement is Enhanced Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (eSRVCC), the first deployment in the U.S., claims Ray.  The technology is designed to ensure calls aren’t dropped when moving between LTE, HSPA, and 2G networks. 

No details were provided on future devices to be supported or new city to be turned p other than “T-Mobile’s engineering team is working tirelessly” to launch VoLTE in additional cities and more devices. 

The “Un-carrier” may be looking to finish its VoLTE deployment before Verizon and at the same time as AT&T, but T-Mobile won’t state such a goal out loud.

Deutsche Telekom: We’re not doing HD voice interconnection yet, on roadmap

German carrier Deutsche Telekom (DT) is not yet conducting HD voice call exchange either among its own subsidiaries or with other carriers on a peering or IPX basis, according to a company official. However, it and transcoding are on the roadmap.

The remarks came as a part of a discussion on interconnection and IPX at the Metaswitch Forum 14 event in New Orleans this week.  DT indicated that transcoding will most likely take place using the capabilities in Metaswitch’s Perameta SBC (Session Border Controller), as well as interconnection with other carriers to exchange HD voice calls.

No timetable or estimates were given as to when HD call exchange might take place.

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.