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24 Jun 2011
By Mike Wright
Jun
24
2011

Telstra introduces the World’s largest coverage footprint of HD Voice calling

hd-voice-mainpost

Who would have guessed 20 years ago that mobile phones would become as ingrained in our day-to-day lives as they are now?
Since the early ‘90s, handsets have developed enormously and the way we use our phones has changed drastically; however the quality of voice calls really hasn’t changed at all – until now.

Today, Telstra has introduced High Definition Voice calling on the entire Next G® network. HD Voice provides clearer, crisper calls for our customers, as well as suppressing background noise such as traffic or crowds.
So you could be calling a friend in Perth from a train in Melbourne and feel like you’re talking face-to-face.
It’s been an exciting project to develop what is not only Australia’s first HD Voice network, but also the largest HD Voice network in the world.
HD Voice uses state of the art technology known as Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate coding (WB-AMR) which is a wider audio frequency band than the existing network. This makes sounds sharper, and also means it’s easier for customers to distinguish between similar sounds like ‘S’ and ‘F’.

In the latest video about how to get the most out of Next G® network, wireless engineer Jared King shows us what HD Voice is all about.

Customers with HD-compatible handsets will be able to make HD Voice calls for no extra cost as long as the receiver is also using a compatible handset on the Next G® network.
As it’s a new service, there are currently limited HD-compatible devices available in Australia. However as the demand increases for HD Voice, the number of compatible devices is sure to grow and we expect a large percentage of new devices to support this feature in the coming year.

The Nokia 6720, E52, E72 and N8-00 and the HTC Desire S all support HD Voice today.
Next month, the Sony Ericsson Neo-Xperia will be launched with HD Voice.

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Posts: 33

29 Comments

  1. Michael Proctor says:

    So if I call a landline from HD Voice it will sound just like I wasn’t using a HD Voice phone?

    So basically the “exchanger” from Mobile to Fixed network doesn’t support HD Voice yet?

    • Mike Wright says:

      Hi Michael,
      Thanks for your question.
      At this stage to get the benefits of HD Voice calling, both parties need to using an HD enabled handset that are connected to Telstra’s Next G® mobile network.

  2. will charltn says:

    My problem besides being hard if hearing is the clarity and i welcome this inovation . Would like to see it advanced to a level where I can (via its software ) tune the HD phone like a hearing aid to my frequency losses. A bit like selecting a ring tone I can hear!

    Another issue is the capability of the so called \Blue\ accredited phones that are supposed to operate in more signal difficult areas. My house is only 10Klms’ from Robina on the Gold Coast and my Next G signal drops in and out. The Nokia phone of my wife does operate adequately the house, while an HTP and my Telstra Flip hand phone are useless!

    Not happy!

    • Mike Wright says:

      Hi Will
      Thanks for your feedback.
      It’s disappointing to hear about your experience on the Next G® mobile network. It is the case that blue tick phones will maximise your coverage experience however there are many factors which influence the strength of signal received including distance from the serving base station, intervening terrain and obstructions (hills, trees, buildings) and the materials from which your home is constructed. If you email through your address details I can pass this onto our mobile engineers to undertake an assessment to ascertain if any improvements can be made.

  3. Gregory Opera says:

    Maybe its all the Sony Ericsson products I’ve bought (it’s all I use!), but it’s been a long, LONG time since I’ve had a phone call like that!

    Besides, how is this going to affect bandwidth on the network? Already wireless broadband struggles to handle all that data at times, as does Mobile Foxtel (quite frequently)…

    • Mike Wright says:

      Hi Gregory,
      Thanks for your feedback.
      HD Voice calls use more advanced digital coding algorithms which do not add to the network as compared to standard voice calls. We continue to monitor network performance and add capacity to maintain performance.

  4. Trevor Connell says:

    “Next month, the Sony Ericsson Neo-Xperia will be launched with HD Voice.” -- But not the Gasaxy S2 or the Atrix -- go figure!

  5. Paul Higgins says:

    Great to see this enabled. Though the demo on here isn’t all that impressive. Somewhere I saw Orange UK do a demo of HD and the results were amazing! It really depends so much on the quality of the microphone and speakers in the handset.

    Regardless, well done Telstra in getting this on your network. Let’s hope the handset manufacturers don’t let you down.

  6. michael agnello says:

    Hi Mike,

    When in the future, will we see inter-operator HD voice calls being made, and also the interworking with home landlines?

    thanks
    michael

  7. Peter says:

    I made a call between 2 Samsung Galaxy SII’s the other day and the audio quality was fantastic. It’s like the other party is standing next to you.

    Great job Telstra.

  8. Will Charltn says:

    Just bought/re contracted with two Nokia N9 on the Next G Network. Have set noise cancellation on and system sounds to level 3

    So bad in their clarity and volume~ really disappointing.

    Live on the cusp of the 3G and 4G signal in Bonogin, Gold Coast.

    Not happy!

  9. Ben says:

    So Telstra, HD Voice is a good idea.

    When is this going to be implemented over the landline network? According to wikipedia the current voicecall spec was agreed in the 1930s so I think we’re about due an upgrade.

    Ben

    • Gregory Opera says:

      Statistically-speaking, virtually no one uses landlines anymore… Well, not for telephone calls, anyway.

      And like it or hate, we’re slowly working our way towards a landline-free society…Yes, it’s probably going to be a LOT longer than most people think before landlines disappear completely (realistically, at least 15+ years), but it will happen “evenutally”.

      Why work towards improving something that’s on its way out?

      Mobile technology on the other hand, is guaranteed to be around for at least another 20-30 years!

    • Chris says:

      I don’t know about landlines being phased out. Mine’s got a new lease of life by being on the NBN! The handsets offered with the T-hub are first rate and I can now make HD voice calls but only internally within my home! It would be so nice to also be able to make them to HD enabled mobile handsets (be they Telstra or otherwise). I wonder if T-hub to T-Hub HD voice calls can be made yet? Guess I’ll have to wait until somebody else I know gets a T-hub.

    • Gregory Opera says:

      From what I can understand -- having not used the NBN personally -- service providers are able to offer VoIP over the NBN at their discretion, though extra equipment is required to be installed.

      We’re stuck on ADSL (1!) at my place and the NBN is a long way off, so I’m not to sure how Telstra is going to handle “fixed” services going forwards, or how they are managing “fixed” services in NBN areas at the moment… But VoIP does make sense.

      I guess theoretically Telstra could continue to offer “fixed” calls via the copper-line network… But one must really ask why, given the benefits of VoIP.

      I imagine -- if Telstra are not already doing this -- that “traditional” landline services will be pushed for some time as that has always been Telstra’s pride-and-joy… But I expect that at some point Telstra will switch to a VoIP solution, if they are not already doing so in NBN areas.

  10. Ben says:

    Hi there.

    I’ve just stumbled upon this.

    Do you need to have a NextG SIM?

    My parents have had the same Telstra SIM card since 1998 ;-) but have HD Voice capable phones.

    Will they need to upgrade their SIM cards for HD Voice to work?

    Shame my N9 doesn’t support HD…

    Thanks

    • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

      Hi Ben. Yes, you do need a Next G SIM card. If your parents have a Next G capable handset, they’ll also benefit from improved coverage (over 99% of the population) by using a Next G SIM as our previous 2G network only covers ~96% of the population. They should also experience better in-building coverage due to the superior signal strength of the Next G network over previous 2G networks. Hope this helps. Brendan

    • Ben says:

      Thanks for answering my question; and the sales pitch ;-)

      • Brendan - [Your Community Manager] says:

        You’re very welcome Ben. I’m not in sales… Did I do well? :-)

    • Ben says:

      Maybe a little too well… :-p

    • Gregory Opera says:

      You have 1999 SIMs, but HD-capable smartphones?

      How in the heck did you manage that?

      They should have given you a new SIM when you upgraded or if you bought the smartphones outright, asked to see your SIM so that they could check it…

    • Ben says:

      The reference to 1998 was suggesting that they are just really old.

      The HD voice capable phone is from another carrier i.e. work phone but that would have been verbose to explain, just like this post.

  11. Clive says:

    Hi Mike, Is the HD Voice serrvice restricted to the Mobile phones you mention or any 3G mobile. Do you need a special SIM. Does it need to be activated on a Next G number. Clive.

    • Gregory Opera says:

      Clive,

      It’s restricted to specific mobile phones as the handset needs to support a specific codec (in layman’s terms, a codec is the technology used to turn your voice into a digital signal, and vice versa)… Specifically, the handset needs to support “Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate coding (WB-AMR)”.

      In theory, any handset that supports NextG (W-CDMA 850MHz, sometimes called “3G 850″, “3.5G 850″ or “HSDPA 850″) AND Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate coding (WB-AMR) should work, though obviously Telstra can’t guarantee this unless it is an “approved handset” you’re using, the first of which are specified above.

      I was trying to find you a specific link on Telstra’s Web site to the list of currently supported mobile phones -- particularly seeing as most of the handsets listed above are no longer available (according to Telstra.com) -- but I couldn’t seem to find anything via the Google search on Telstra’s Web site or manually navigating through the site…

      If “HD Voice” is a required feature in your purchasing decisions, it might be worth heading into a T-Life store, giving Telstra a call or asking the manufacturer directly if their mobile phones support it -- remember though, the handset needs to support “Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate coding (WB-AMR)” AND NextG.

      I hope I was of some help…

  12. Feng says:

    Hi! Mike,

    Am I correct that an HD Voice compatible handset is a handset which:
    1) support WB-AMR;
    2) have high quality speaker and microphone.

    Is it mandatory to have dual mic?

    Thanks,

    Feng

    • Thanks for your enquiry Feng. Yes, an HD Voice compatible handset requires WB-AMR support and high quality speaker and microphone, dual mic is not required. Telstra now stocks a range of HD Voice compatible handsets, and the feature is activated across our entire Next G® mobile network.

  13. Simon says:

    Hi, is the recently announced Apple iPhone 5 with wideband enabled technology supported on the Telstra network?

    • Tom says:

      It certainly is, I just received a call on the iPhone 5 from someone with an HD Voice enabled phone and it gave me quite a shock…

  14. Yan says:

    What is the standard that Telstra HD voice-enabled phones are in compliance with?
    The non-WB phones are being tested against ITU-T Rec. P.862.

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