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.