Orange to launch HD voice in 2009

Mobile operator Orange is planning on rolling out high definition voice call quality across its network a feature that it will provide for free from next year.

Customers will benefit from improved audio quality that will make it feel like the person at the other end of the phone is in the same room as you, according to Orange.

This is possible thanks to the use of the adaptive multi rate-wideband (AMR-WB) codec, which doubles the frequency of spectrum compared with traditional mobile call quality.

"Customers are very satisfied [with quality] but Orange wanted to go a step further. We want to offer HD quality voice for mobile telephone conversations. It [delivers] better voice processing and intonation comes across a lot better," said Remi Brunier, who demonstrated the new technology at Orange's La Collection exhibition in Paris earlier this week.

"We will roll it out to the UK and Belgium first for the third quarter of 2009. All you have to do is get a compatible mobile. They already exist on the market but the features are deactivated. It's the next step in voice quality, so we will provide it for free."

While the best quality will come about when both the caller and the recipient are using HD-compliant handsets, improvements won't pass other users by entirely.

"If the person on the other end doesn't have a compatible device, you will still notice an improvement," added Brunier. "It will not be as dramatic but it will still be noticeable."

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.