Vodafone NZ rolls out high definition voice

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Vodafone NZ rolls out high definition voice

AMR-WB deployed.

Vodafone New Zealand will become one of the few telcos in the world to provide high-definition voice for 3G and 4G mobile service customers with compatible handsets today.

The telco has added Adaptive Multi-Rate Wide Band (AMR-WB) codecs to its 3G and 4G networks that double the frequency range from 4kHz to 8kHz, with better sampling and higher bit rates, for clearer audio.

It joins Telstra and Vodafone Australia, T-Mobile in the United States, Chunghwa Telecom of Taiwan and Orange in France and Britain in implementing AMR-WB.

Vodafone's network infrastructure supplier, Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), demonstrated the call quality to iTnews, and the audio was noticeably clearer and life-like.

NSN country director Andrew Button said the aim is to provide as good quality as Voice over IP and Apple FaceTime audio over 3G and 4G, with the technology itself being transparent to users.

While AMR-WB and HD Voice have been around for several years, it is only now that the number of enabled handsets have increased sufficiently to make it worthwhile, a Vodafone NZ spokesperson told iTnews.

The technology requires both caller and receiver to have the codecs in their handsets. 

HD Voice calls will not work across different mobile networks, or to landlines.

Devices that support HD Voice include Apple iPhone 5, 5s and 5c as well as Android devices such as Samsing Galaxy Ace 3, Note 3 and S4 (with firmware upgrade) and Sony's Xperia line of handsets.

Nokia Lumia 610, 800 and 820 also support HD Voice, Vodafone said, along with the HTC One.

Vodafone NZ said it will trial Voice over Internet Protocol over 4G LTE - VoLTE - "in due course" and likely implement IP Multimedia System (IMS) convergence of fixed and mobile phone systems.

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