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Orange Tests HD Calling Across UK

Mobile phone network Orange has stated trials for a new service called Orange HD Voice which the company says will be launched in the next few months and will bring high definition voice services to its customers across the nation, in line with Orange's previous announcement last year.

In a statement, Orange says that the service will introduce a new "a new era for mobile communications and a new standard for the telecoms industry", making the callers sound as if they're only a few metres away, rather than hundreds of miles.

Trials have already begun in Bristol, Reading and Southampton across a tiny fraction of the 16.5 million or so Orange mobile customers. HD Voice was first launched in Moldova by Orange and is based on the WB-AMR (Wideband Adaptive Multi-Rate) speech codec.

The main advantage of WB-AMR is that it doesn't necessitate significant upgrades to existing networks. It expands the current mobile phone bandwidth from 300-3400Hz to 50-7000Hz. Orange has not said whether the improved sound quality would work between Orange customers only.

Not all the phones will be compatible with the service although one Orange's spokesperson said that HD voice will be available on more handsets throughout the second half of the year. Check Orange's video describing the service below.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.