MWC 2010: Orange's HD voice coming to UK this year

talking on phone

Orange is set to push its high-definition mobile voice service across Europe this year, the operator announced at Mobile World Congress today in Barcelona.

After unveiling its first HD voice services in Moldova last September, Orange now plans to launch the HD service in France, Luxembourg, and Spain this year. The UK will see the service in a three-month trial set to start this spring.

Orange said HD voice will offer the "best possible sound quality", especially in a noisy area, "creating a much closer feeling of proximity between both parties, almost as if callers are actually in the same room."

The system uses a special codec that boosts quality using existing networks by using speech bandwidth of 50 to 7,000 Hz compared to standard systems using 300 to 3,400 Hz, Orange claimed.

Olaf Swantee, senior executive vice president for Orange's global mobile business, said: "As far as Orange is concerned, voice is not just a commodity. With mobile HD voice, we are delivering true customer innovation - one that will genuinely enrich and transform our customers' lives."

"By being the first to innovate and deliver a new mobile voice experience, we provide a compelling and differentiated proposition which sets Orange apart," he added in a statement.

Handsets and prices will be announced when the service arrives in the UK, Orange said.

New tariffs

Orange also used MWC to unveil some new roaming data tariffs, which should please both business users and consumers alike who find themselves traveling for work and/or play.

The "2 for 2Mb" opt-in tariff lets users keep in touch via their data services while travelling anywhere in the European Union.

There will also be a "10 for 10Mb" tariff for smartphone users, Orange said.

Orange users travelling to the continent will be able to opt-in to the service from this month.

Read on for more news from Mobile World Congress 2010.