Orange Touts High Definition Voice Quality

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Orange is hoping to steal a march on its competitors in 2010 after announcing that the quality of its voice calls is to go ‘high definition’

Orange is looking to snag bragging rights for the year ahead after it announced “mobile High Definition (HD) Voice” for its customers.

Orange hopes its decision will improve the overall user experience of its network, promising “crystal clear, superior sound quality.”

The news comes at a time when the boss of O2 had to apologise for the problems with the O2 network in London, which it blamed on the increasing use of smartphones, such as the iPhone.

Orange could not resist the opportunity to boast about its network infrastructure, saying it currently provides high speed 3G coverage to more than 93 percent of the UK’s population – more than any other UK operator.

Orange’s HD Voice will apparently use the WB-AMR (Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate) speech codec.

“This provides excellent audio quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50-7000 Hz compared to the current narrowband speech codec of 300-3400 Hz,” said the operator. “The WB-AMR (Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate) delivers significantly enhanced sound quality whilst utilising the same network resources.”

“Orange is proud to be leading the industry into the next decade by announcing a new standard in voice innovation that will transform the mobile experience for customers in the UK,” said Tom Alexander, CEO of Orange UK.

“HD Voice really does inject a level of innovation into mobile phone calls, making it sound as if callers are actually in the same room,” he added. “Once people have tried it, they won’t want to go back.”

Orange said that UK trials will be announced early in the new year, with full nationwide roll-out due later in 2010.

It should be noted however that Orange customers will require a HD Voice enabled handset, and the operator said it is already working with leading handset manufacturers on the development of devices to be rolled out next year.