Orange Plans To Launch HD Mobile Phone Service

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 company 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 launched.