Orange talked up (pun very much intended) its "crystal clear" High Definition Voice technology late last year and we had numerous questions. With a public trial now underway hopefully we'll soon get some answers...
The exact size of the trial was not revealed, with Orange only saying it would cover Bristol, Reading and Southampton with selected participants representing "a range of demographic groups, including small businesses and early technology adopters, as well as more mainstream users". Orange will be monitoring the levels of call quality and - should all go well - it will be rolled out nationwide before the end of the summer.
"HD Voice is a really exciting innovation for us," said Orange head of mobile voice and messaging products Andrew Warner. "It's the first major change in the core mobile voice product in about 20 years and what it will give you is much better sound quality for the phone calls you make. So what that means is if you're in a noisy environment, or if you're hard of hearing, or if you want better sound quality that's exactly what you'll get."
Caveats? Yes there are a few, namely HD Voice will only be available on a small range of phones to begin with and handset makers need to build this tech into their phones - a major barrier to widespread adoption unless HD Voice is to become a global industry standard. On top of this Orange still hasn't addressed if HD Voice will work when speaking across different networks. I suspect not, making the benefits unpredictable at best. Finally we don't know if Orange will make HD Voice available across its entire 3G network or will we have yet another service where we'll need to consult coverage maps?
As I said in December: "HD Voice will make things better... when you have a compatible phone... speaking to another compatible phone... on the right network... where there is reception..."
Can't we just focus on getting better network coverage first?!
Source: Orange Press Release