With all the new mobile technology out, we tend to get distracted by data speeds and other features, but it’s about time voice got an upgrade.
Although the feature isn’t entirely new and it was announced over two years ago, massive cellular infrastructures take time to update, so there’s often a delay before we can use the newest network side technology. Sprint has been doing some major work on its network and is finally ready to officially launch HD voice in more than the handful of networks it is currently available.
During his keynote speech for Oracle Industry Direct in Boston, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse made the announcement that HD Voice for will be launched for Sprint customers nationwide in July of this year. Hesse said “voice is still the killer app,” and early test have supported this, with HD Voice carrying vocal audio over 7 octaves as opposed to the four octaves we’re all used to. HD Voice sounds even better than a landline.
Traditional voice calls take about 8,000 audio samples per second and broadcast and limits call frequency to anywhere from 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz, while the human voice transmits anywhere from 75 Hz to 14 kHz. HD Voice is much more in line with our voices, transmitting a range of anywhere from 50 Hz to 7 kHz, or more and takes 16,000 audio samples per second, resulting in voice audio sounding much more like it should.
Sprint isn’t the only US carrier implementing HD Voice. T-Mobile has also enabled some markets, but like Sprint, it’s not fully enabled. Verizon and AT&T also have plans to enable HD Voice on their networks later this year.
Not all HD Voice networks are created equal, though. There will likely not be any interoperability between any two carrier’s HD Voice network, meaning most people will only gain the benefits of high quality voice when talking to people who use the same cellular provider.
VoLTE technology was recently encouraged by the FCC and serve as a much more robust alternative, solving many issues, such as carrier interoperability. Most carriers, including Sprint, are looking into VoLTE technology, but it doesn’t have widespread adoption yet.
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