Orange to introduce HD Voice calls in 2010

Customers of Orange's proposed new service can look forward to high-definition voice calls offering 'crystal clear' sound quality

Orange logo

Mobile giant Orange is promising to bring high-definition audio quality to voice calls in 2010 thanks to its HD Voice service.

Orange claims the service, which will require customers to invest in new handsets, will offer HD-quality calls and that "once people have tried it, they won't want to go back".

"HD Voice really does inject a level of innovation into mobile phone calls, making it sound as if callers are actually in the same room," said Orange UK's chief executive Tom Alexander in a statement.

"High definition voice doubles the spectrum devoted to the spoken voice, making it possible to transmit all the nuances of the human voice."

Successful trials have already been held in Moldova, and Orange says it will be trialling the service in the UK over the next few months, with a view to a nationwide rollout later in the year.

The biggest obstacle to HD Voice's uptake is likely to be hardware compatibility. Orange has confirmed that customers will have to upgrade their phones to take advantage of improved call quality, and at this stage says only that it is "working with" handset manufacturers to help develop devices that can support the service.

There is no word yet on whether HD calls will come with a price premium, while concern has already been voiced about the potential bandwidth strain implied by more data-hungry calls. Just last week O2 admitted that recent network outages had been caused by an 18-fold increase in data traffic since the start of 2009 thanks to the data-hungry iPhone users.

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