HD Voice is our new standard of calling technology, and we've just rolled it out across the UK. Read on to find out the hows, whys and wheres...

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Your phone is capable of playing music, movies and games, browsing the web, taking brilliant photos and a million other things, but at Vodafone we’ll always put a big emphasis on enabling the number one job a telephone’s made for: letting you speak to your family and friends.

 

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That focus is part of the reason behind the arrival of HD Voice at Vodafone, which we’ve rolled out across our 3G network* to improve the quality of every Vodafone-to-Vodafone call you make. What does it do, how does it do it, and how can you feel the benefits? Read on to find out.

Crystal clear

HD Voice is a mobile technology that specifically focusses on improving the quality and clarity of your calls. We’ve been rolling it out over the past few months, and some of you may already have noticed a difference.

To explain the hows, whys and wheres, we’ve been speaking to Vodafone’s Andrew Rosser, who was involved in the project from day one:

“When you’re on the call, you’ll get a wider range of voice tone, so the voice will sound more like the person you’re speaking to.”

“HD Voice – otherwise known as Wideband Audio – will give you the benefit of a richer tone, less background noise and generally a much clearer call,” he explains. “When you’re on the call, you’ll get a wider range of voice tone, so the voice will sound more like the person you’re actually speaking to, and less of a digital version of themselves. HD Voice filters out background noise too, so if you’re stood in a noisy environment like a busy street, you’ll be able to hear people’s voices more easily.”

So how does it work? Take a look at this video from the Vodafone Tech Team to hear the call quality in action:

“When a call is connected to our network, we’ve historically used a relatively small amount of bandwidth to enable people to talk to each other. That is great as a starting point, but HD Voice makes the call quality better by using a broader range of frequencies, and you can really tell the difference. We’ve rolled it out across our 3G network, so that means two people on our network, with a compatible device and in an area served by our 3G network will be able to experience full HD Voice.

Andrew explains that the secret buried inside HD Voice is a wider range of sounds. Traditionally, mobile phone calls cater for a range of about 300Hz to 3,400Hz, but HD Voice allows a range from a much lower starting point – 50hz – right up to 7,000Hz, which is much closer to the diverse range of pitch and tone in human speech. On top of that, HD Voice doubles the sampling rate – that’s how frequently the sound waves in a call are captured – from 8,000 to 16,000 per second. All in all, it makes for much more human-sounding calls.

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And HD Voice isn’t affected by signal quality either, as Andrew explains. “If you’ve got no signal, you’ve got no call, but the quality of HD Voice doesn’t slide up and down depending on that. Once you’re connected to an HD Voice call, and assuming you stay in a 3G area, you’ll have that for the duration of the call.”

HD Ready

The good news is that you don’t have to do anything to feel the benefits of HD Voice. As long as you have a compatible handset and are calling from Vodafone to Vodafone in a 3G area, you’ll already be able to make HD Voice calls in a large part of the UK. There are no extra costs for accessing the service and it’s available now.

Want to find out more about HD Voice? Take a look at vodafone.co.uk/hdvoice for the details and to find out if your device is compatible.

The sound of 4G… Has all this talk of radio frequencies left you scratching your head? Check out this piece on why, when it comes to frequency ranges, bigger is always better.

*HD Voice is not currently supported on Sure Signal/Open Sure Signal and in-building coverage solutions