Following in the footsteps of T-Mobile and Sprint's high-quality voice endeavors, AT&T is set to enable HD voice calls over its 4G LTE network later this year.
HD voice technology is not particularly new. The technology has been available in select European markets for several years, though its adoption has been limited because it not only requires a compatible network, but also phones that actually support HD voice capabilities.
HD voice is meant to give better quality sound for both callers. It's also known as wideband audio, which packs more frequency data into a call, helping to reduce background noise and bring overall clearer sound quality.
In January this year, T-Mobile was the first U.S. carrier to announce availability of HD voice calling on its network. The initial handsets supported are the Samsung Galaxy S III, the HTC One S, and the Nokia Astound. T-Mobile's version of the iPhone 5 will also support the technology. However, the feature is only available between if both callers are using one of those phones on T-Mobile's 3G or 4G network.
AT&T's HD voice technology is set to make its debut sometime this year and will be routed over the carrier's LTE network.
Speaking at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit this week, AT&T senior VP Kris Rinne said that "HD Voice is part of our voice over LTE strategy," AllThingsD reports. AT&T didn't give an exact time frame when the feature will be available, or which devices will be supported besides the iPhone 5 (and probably the next iPhone).
Sprint has also been trialing HD voice calls since last year, but the feature is limited to the HTC EVO 4G LTE alone, and like T-Mobile, only works on calls made within its own network. The carrier announced plans for wider rollout of HD voice last year, but the EVO 4G still remains its only HD voice phone, as the iPhone 5 version for Sprint does not have support for the technology.
Verizon doesn't plan to implement HD voice technology until early next year, after the company moves its voice-over-cellular capabilities to its LTE network, CNET reports. Currently, Verizon's voice-over technology runs on the company's 3G network.
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