Alongside T-Mobile’s announcement that they will finally begin offering the iPhone with their new no-contract plans, T-Mobile also became the first U.S. carrier to support the iPhone 5’s new HD Voice feature (wideband audio). HD Voice provides significantly improved voice calling and in-call audio quality (despite the fact that Apple announced the feature for the iPhone many months ago).
HD Voice requires support not only in a phone’s hardware, but from the carrier network as well. Not wanting to be left out of the game, AT&T has announced that they are planning to launch HD Voice support later this year as well.
Speaking on Monday, AT&T senior VP Kris Rinne said that the carrier will roll-out its own support for the technology later this year as it begins to route voice calling over its LTE network.
“HD Voice is part of our voice over LTE strategy,” Rinne said, speaking at th VentureBeat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Calif. Sprint has also talked about its plans for HD Voice.
Call quality has been an issue for AT&T iPhone users since day one – especially in the early days when AT&T was the exclusive carrier of the iPhone. HD Voice should help the carrier improve call quality across the board – something which users should be very grateful for indeed. AT&T is planning to unveil a new “Advanced LTE” technology as well, which should also improve the overall quality of their network for newer devices.
It’s good news for AT&T users to be sure – but the question remains: What took them so long to support a feature that Apple rolled out clear back in October? In their defense, wideband audio has been around for ages – Apple’s decision to bring it to the iPhone is simply bringing it into the spotlight.
To get a better idea of what HD voice is, and how it can improve audio quality, check out the below video from YouTube user Martin Stanford.