France Telecom-owned Orange
is planning to make
high definition telephone calls available to British customers sometime this
year. The HD voice service will require customers to buy new handsets. In
return for upgrading to HD voice service, customers will enjoy clearer mobile
phone calls that are said to make you feel as if you're in the same room with
the person on the other end of the call.
Orange is the first mobile phone
to announce a British HD voice service. The company hopes the service will help
encourage a new standard throughout the industry. "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. Once people have tried it, they won't
want to go back," said Tom Alexander, Orange UK chief executive.
Orange is planning HD voice trials yet this year and a
nationwide introduction later in 2010. The telecom is working with handset
manufacturers to develop devices that will support the new service. HD voice
uses a wider speech bandwidth, enabling better audio quality that transmits all
of the nuances of the human voice. It also provides a clearer conversation by
fading the background noise. The technology is said to improve the quality of
the call even if only one of the two parties involved is HD-enabled.
Pricing for HD calls has not been set. Orange launched the
world's first high definition voice service for mobile phones in Moldova in
September. In Moldova, the cost of calls did not increase when HD service was