AT&T once again says HD Voice, VoLTE coming later this year

AT&T to start supporting HD Voice  later this year

Speaking at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit, AT&T senior VP Kris Rinne once again said wideband audio, also known as HD Voice, would be coming to the network sometime in 2013. Ina Fried at AllThingsD reports:

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."

HD Voice requires both handset support and network support. The iPhone 5 is compatible with HD Voice, but so far that's restricted to only a few, mainly European carriers. AT&T's HD Voice isn't the same technology those European carriers have implemented, however, it's using Voice over LTE (VoLTE).

Current LTE networks are data-only, leaving voice on their traditional, separate channels. With VoLTE everything is data, and voice becomes Voice over IP (VoIP). Switching to VoLTE provides for a simpler, more efficient, and hopefully better quality service for everyone.

Back in January, Sascha Segan reported that HD Voice could be coming to AT&T as soon as August 2013, and wrote about how it sounded in PCMag:

I tried AT&T's HD Voice demo, and it's really striking. Background noise just drops out. The bustle of noises in a coffee shop? Gone. Airport PA announcements? Zapped. Even in a quiet room, voices become much, much richer; I won't sound like a nasal Gollum any more. It's really lovely, and I dare say it's an unusually good version of HD Voice even as HD Voice goes. But I've seen this demo a bunch of times before. I've seen this demo for two years. Someone needs to actually launch the service.

Can't wait.

Source: AllThingsD, PCMag

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

AT&T once again says HD Voice, VoLTE coming later this year


Just so I have this straight - AT&T charges like crazy for data but with unlimited talk and text. They are now trying to take voice communication over data now? Why give unlimited talk? And honestly - I dont recall the last time I thought to myself as I was talking to someone - "Man, I wish this conversation was in HD".

It may seem insignificant for you but some people like myself hate talking on the cell phone because the call quality is garbled and choppy. I've worked around airplanes for years and any background noise and garbled sounds make it hard for me to hear. That is why I will never cancel my house phone. I've never seen a cell phone that has call quality that can compare to the landline.

It would be good to use this technology while stuck in a busy airport and trying to do a conference call for business.

We are long overdue for HD voice in my opinion. Even just for land lines. That's the edge land lines could have had over cellular, in my opinion.

HD voice will be welcomed with open arms. I am so tired of conference calls and everyone sounding scratchy and muffled. This is ancient technology. Everything on our phones are in HD EXCEPT the actual phone part!

VoLTE will be shit. Sorry. Not worth it at this time. Unless it was drastically improved upon. VoLTE drains your battery twice as fast. Which mean we will never see it on an iPhone because those pricks never give us a phone with a battery size over 1500. Only phones like Droid Razr Maxx or custom phones with bigger batteries can handle this. It will simply drain your battery too damn fast. Battery technology has to improve before we use this.

Then again I could be wrong. Swore I saw a study about VoLTE on iMore way back...

This is sure to put many people over their data caps if voice is added to the data usage. They might offer a choice between voice over the traditional cellular network and HD Voice, priced at a premium of course.

I just wonder how much are they going to charge for this service? It sounds like a great service, but I'm afraid to hear what it will cost.

Maybe they should get the rest of their customers on data LTE before they worry about rolling out the VoLTE. How much longer am I going to be stuck on HSPA+? I'm sick of waiting.