Orange today confirmed to Pocket-lint that high-definition voice communication would be coming to the service as soon as Q3 2009.
Whilst most people have been focused on high-definition television, little has been said about improving the quality of voice communication, which is where Orange is setting its sights, and will be rolling it out across the Orange network, starting with the UK and, perhaps oddly, Belgium.
Thanks to the Adaptive Multi Rate-WideBand (AMR-WB) codec, double the frequency spectrum will be given over to voice telephony over traditional voice calling. Orange boasts that the result is "near hi-fi quality" and "FM-radio quality", which seems an odd comparison.
We did have the privilege of witnessing a demo of high-definition voice and it did seem much more life-like. Could this be the end of "hold on, you sound like you are on the other side of the world"?
An Orange spokesperson confirmed that you would need a handset enabled for high-definition voice, and to get the best possible result, you’d need to be calling someone else on an HD phone. However, noticeable enhancements will appear if only one party has the technology. The service will be free for Orange users.
We will bring you more news when we have it.