Mobile HD Voice – Is it going to be the next big thing?

A much overdue innovation that is going to change the way we talk to each other over the phone. It’s been a while since we heard of something major in the voice arena. It seems all the action these days is happening only in the data space.

So what is the big news about mobile HD voice for the end user? For one you would feel like you are talking to someone in person. The experience is going to be like shifting from an AM radio to a CD player – sharp and crystal clear. Remember the time when you first upgraded your TV set from the standard CRT to a big screen LCD screen – once you have experienced the richness of High Definition voice you would want not go back to the old way of talking. Mobile HD voice is expected to open up a whole new era for voice based services. Conference calls are going to be the big winners here. No more clinging to the speaker phone trying to decipher every word being said. Other voice services like IVR and Speech-to-Text are also going to evolve to a new level.

So what is stopping mobile network operators from moving full speed ahead with the adoption of mobile HD voice? For one, this service is part of an all IP infrastructure that mobile operators are moving towards as they adopt LTE. Although a good HSPA+ network should be able to handle these wideband voice calls, the volume of calls going forward are going to demand a low latency, high bandwidth network to ensure service quality.

The other barrier is going to be interoperability. Today if two operators offer mobile HD voice they are unable to connect their users with each other. Setting up an interconnection between an HD line and a regular line also requires some transcoding. Only once barriers like these get resolved can we expect mobile HD voice to pick up in a big way as a key value-added innovation for the end user. The good news is that some big announcements are expected in Barcelona this week as the Mobile World Congress (MWC) kicks-off tomorrow!

However, taking the lead is Orange. They launched the first commercial mobile HD voice service in Moldova based on their 14.4 mbps 3G network. To support this launch Nokia had made one handset available and now Sony Ericsson too has announced “HD voice ready” phones under their GreenHeart line. Another operator, 3 UK, is also under going trials for mobile HD voice. If some concrete steps are taken at the MWC we can expect mobile HD voice to be the big buzz this year!

Reposted from the Luciola Blog

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