MTN notched another feather in its cap when it became the first operator in South Africa to launch Adaptive Multi-Rate Wideband (AMR-WB) technology, which is more commonly referred to as high definition voice (HD Voice).
HD Voice is available across MTN’s 3G network nationally. MTN customers can benefit from HD Voice if both the devices they use support AMR-WB to run a HD Voice active call.
HD voice extends the frequency range of signals transmitted over the radio air interface resulting in higher quality speech. The range of the human voice extends from 80 Hz to 14 kHz but traditional, voiceband or narrowband telephone calls limit audio frequencies o the range of 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz.
In comparison, AMR-WB technology extends the available audio frequency range to 50Hz to 7KHz with the additional low frequency range providing improved call naturalness, presence and comfort, and the higher range better sound differentiation and therefore higher call intelligibility.
Krishna Chetty, General Manager: Radio Optimisation & Planning at MTN South Africa, says HD Voice will give MTN subscribers superior audio feedback.
“Conversations on HD Voice will sound as natural and clear as if you are talking to someone in the same room. HD Voice reduces fatigue and makes for more intelligible conversations. It enables clear conversations on many smartphone devices and gives users an optimal user experience which has, until now, been the sole preserve of fixed-line networks,” says Chetty.
He says the experience of changing from ordinary voice to HD Voice is comparable to switching from standard-definition to high-definition television (HDTV).
“The benefits of clear, high-quality voice communication are even more tangible for enterprise users, who have been quick to recognize the potential impact of HD voice in business-critical areas such as conference calls and the fast-growing voice-recognition-services market, where better voice quality can lead to improved efficiency, reduced costs and a more productive working environment,” says Chetty.
He says that computer-based processes like voice recognition and speech-to-text could also benefit from HD voice as it gives better accuracy.
This solution will not be available for the foreseeable future on the LTE and 2G network as there are currently no voice calls on the new generation 4G network and very limited handset support on the 2G network but as the technology and device ecosystem matures this position could change.