According to Apple, the iPhone 5 has much better call quality than its predecessor thanks to its new wideband audio technology. Unfortunately, no US carrier supports this feature yet.

This means that call quality on your iPhone 5 still greatly depends on your location and who your service provider is. And according to a new report, Sprint is the one to beat in this category…

CNET set out to find which carrier had the best voice quality on the iPhone 5 out of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. So they put all three models to the test in New York, and this is what they found:

Sprint: This is the winner, and the more, we listened the more we agreed. Background noise isn’t a factor, and my voice comes through loud, clear, and even a bit richer. I also noticed that Brian’s call came through clearer and louder on my end. The audio sample shows off how much better it sounds.

What does this mean for you? Well, they all sounded good relative to the iPhone 4S, and frankly, a lot of the iPhone’s appeal has little to do with voice calls. LTE data speeds and availability may matter far more. Reception and coverage vary by area, so your experience may be different from mine. But, if all you care about is the best-sounding voice calls, our quick test favored Sprint.”

Now, this test is nowhere near scientific. In fact, they didn’t even try different locations. But they did make several phone calls, and they uploaded all of the audio so you could hear the difference.

It’s worth noting that Sprint does have a service called HD Voice, which is supposed to make audio quality on phone calls much better. But to our knowledge, the iPhone 5 doesn’t support it.

In addition to wideband audio, the iPhone 5 features a new three microphone setup that Apple says should also make for clearer phone calls. But I can’t tell much of a difference from my 4S.

What do you think of your iPhone 5’s call quality? Is it better than your previous handset?

  • mervynraj

    i compared the iphone 5 with blackberry 9900 and to me 9900 had the best call quality!!

    • Dario Refuto

      Of course, BlackBerry has got the best call quality. My Curve 9360 has surely a better call quality than iPhone 4S’s one…

    • iDevizes

      That ain’t the subject of the post… it’s about carriers not about phones… Which carrier do you use with your blackberry?

  • Malay Mody

    with some of the fastest LTE speeds that ive seen paired with the larger and much faster (twice as fast as Verizon) Clearwire spectrum, I think Sprint is well on its way to incredible LTE. That along with superior call quality and unlimited data, I think sprint has definitely pole vaulted itself to the top and will get tons of new subscribers over the next couple years

    • I hope not, because its quality will drop down to hell ….

    • Matthew Agostino

      I disagree, I have Verizon, with their LTE, I get on average 30mpbs up and down, everywhere I live.

    • I don’t know where you live but Sprints data on my 4s is slower than my old 3Gs on T-Mobiles Edge network. I never get anything over 50 Kbps anywhere in San Diego County. Sprint will be losing more customers if they don’t upgrade their towers soon. Very unhappy with Sprint!!!

      • Malay Mody

        First I get 3 mpbs down on 3G which isn’t good but not horrible for CDMA. Next, I’m pretty sure I said LTE twice in that comment, and not 3G… And your 4S definitely isn’t connected to LTE

      • I realize my 4s is not on LTE and never will be??? You are ranting and raving about Sprint as if they are this LTE giant (which they are not and not even close to being) when they barely provide decent 3G speeds on ANY device. Do you work for Sprint? Sprint provides subpar service period. You get what you pay for.

      • Malay Mody

        I was talking about LTE. 3G speeds have nothing to do with LTE, so what’s the point of even mentioning slower 3G. That’s an issue with all CDMA carriers, like Verizon. I’m no spokesperson for sprint, just stating facts. If you can’t see that sprints future is something to be excited then so be it. I never once said that Sprint was an LTE giant, just that its speeds would be better than Verizon at some point and that things looked good with the Clearwire acquisition

      • I’ll be excited when it happens, until then, most people have zero faith. A companies track record speaks volumes, not a big maybe in the sky.

      • Damani Brown

        Sprint data is very slow in my area in California. I get around 0.08 Download and 0.49 upload. It’s a shame. In very very few areas I’ll get 1.3 download and 1.8 upload but it’s very VERY rare. Sprint better get it’s butt in gear. I don’t get LTE in my area yet I’m paying for it. Not fair. Lets go Sprint!!!

  • ThinkThong

    My iphone 4 almost always have poor call quality compared to my cheap galaxy y duos. Does not matter where and when.

  • SimonReidy

    I’m lucky enough to be with an Australian carrier (Telstra) that supports wideband audio. They advertise it under the name “HD Audio” like Sprint, but its definitely the wide-band format, so maybe Sprint are using the same wide-band tech also?

    A couple of my mate’s Android phones have wideband audio with Tesltra too, so when I make a call to them from the iPhone 5, call quality sounds like a high quality mp3, rather than an old FM radio (and reports from their end are that the iPhone 5 sounds extremely clear to them too) so its definitely one of those features you’ll really appreciate when your carrier starts to support it.

    It’s actually quite jarring the first time you hear it (we’re all so used to the crappy old mobile phone sound ) as combined with noise cancelling the iPhone 5 can sound much better than a landline.

    The only problem is for wideband to work both phones participating in the call must support the format (plus the carriers for both phones) so it’s only cool to test for now. Once more carriers get onboard, and more people get their hands on an iPhone 5 (and other wideband phones) it will be make a big difference.

  • and the worst data performance.. an no voice and data at the same time in 2012 is just lame..

    • Malay Mody

      Verizon is the same thing. It’s a CDMA limitation and Verizon still is considered the best carrier in US so clearly Voice + Data isn’t a huge groundbreaker. It’s also just as slow if not slower than sprint. (I’ve found my Sprint 4S to have better data speed than my friends’ Verizon 4S in most places)

    • Agreed Joe. Sprint couldn’t even get 4G WiMax coverage everywhere for the old Evo, what makes anyone think they are going to get LTE right this time??? I figure I should have LTE by maybe 2015 in San Diego if we are lucky. Until then there is no use getting the iPHone 5 or any LTE Sprint device until they get their sh** together.

  • Rodney Coleman

    Meh.. Verizon uses their towers different.. chip and LTE chip.. radios sprint are quite different.. iPhone 5 period sucks.. but sprint LTE is good.. get about 28Mbps constant…

  • Does anyone know when Apple is gonna be selling unlocked and contract-free Iphone5?

  • Jonathan

    There has to be something wrong with your phone.

    • It’s not always that bad, but it is something weird with my iPhone versus my older HTC Arrive. That phone never had a huge issue with 3G speeds, but the iPhone seems consistently slower. I just ordered a FreedomPop case since I live in a WiMax area, but I really hate Sprint 🙁