iPhone 5 keynote (wideband audio 002

Last week, T-Mobile announced that it was finally going to start offering the iPhone. It will be selling all current models, with the iPhone 5 starting at just $99 down, and will support the handset’s HD Voice (or Wideband Audio) feature.

In fact, once it launches the iPhone 5 later this month, T-Mobile will be the only US carrier to support its HD Voice option. But it won’t be that way for long. AT&T announced today that it will be rolling out support for the tech later this year…

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,” Rinne said, speaking at th VentureBeat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Calif. Sprint has also talked about its plans for HD Voice.”

HD Voice, for those unfamiliar with the technology, extends the frequency range of audio signals transmitted over telephone lines, resulting in higher quality speech. It requires support from both the carrier and the devices on each end of the call.

Apple announced support for the tech in passing during its big iPhone 5 event last September. At launch, the feature was only supported by 20 carriers around the globe (none of which were in the US), and it hasn’t gained much traction since.

But as an AT&T customer, I can’t wait for it to start offering HD Voice. I’ve never heard it in action, and I don’t really have a problem with my current call quality, but I imagine it’s like HDTV—once you’ve tried it, you can’t go back to anything else.

Are you excited to see carriers starting to add support for HD Voice? Or do you see it as more of a gimmick?

  • Rodney Coleman

    Hmmm… I don’t have issues with att opposed to Tmobile here in Houston.. On 1 dropped call on my iPhone 5

  • seyss

    you can hear it in action using VIBER or any of the most voip apps out there…

  • KewlDewd

    This is good. I’ve thought for a long time now that with all the technology in the world we should be past that lo-fi sound quality of a standard phone call.

  • Ray V

    I don’t know how great this is but it’s sad the US lags behind again.

  • Guest

    Att-“Hey look!! We’re also doing what the new guy is doing”!!

  • Shugo Asakura

    In before att only offers it with a shared data plan.

  • In Israel we have HD-Voice But no LTE4G :((((((

  • What is this???

    Is reception more important or HD voice?

  • SimonReidy

    If you haven’t heard HD voice before and have an iPhone 5 on AT&T, you’ll be stoked by how much better HD voice is. The only thing is both handsets on either side of the call must support the HD voice standard for it to work. However if you have friends with iPhone 5’s or quite a few other supporting Android and WP8 handsets (the Nokia Lumia 920 definitely supports it, but not sure about specific Android models) you’ll find it works well between different makes and models.

    We’ve had HD voice support on Telstra in Australia for about a year, but its only been recently that major handsets like the iPhone 5 have supported it. The sound quality still isn’t perfect, but think the call quality of Skype on the desktop, vs a regular mobile call, and you’ll get rough idea of how much better it sounds.

  • eh… sounds like a gimmick..