AT&T will enable HD Voice for the iPhone 5 later in 2013, slamming T-Mobile USA's exclusive on the high-quality voice call system in the process, execs at the carrier have confirmed. News of the incipient tech turn-on came on Monday, with AT&T senior VP Kris Rinne revealing that the network sees HD Voice as "part of our voice over LTE strategy," AllThingsD reports.
HD Voice, also known as wideband audio, involves squeezing more frequency data into each call, pushing the limits closer to what the human ear can actually hear. In a regular voice call, that might be as little as 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz (the human voice, meanwhile, can range from 80 Hz to 14 kHz); however, HD Voice extends that to somewhere in the region of 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz.
The end result is a more realistic, natural sounding voice call, though it takes its toll on bandwidth. AT&T's plan is to use VoLTE to address that, taking advantage of the thick data pipe 4G allows to easily accommodate the better quality calls.
However, that means VoLTE has to be up and running before AT&T can think about switching HD Voice on, something the carrier has in mind for later in the year. It will also explore LTE Advanced, which can deliver more bandwidth, among other things, by aggregating channels.
News that AT&T is to hop on board the HD Voice train is likely to come as a disappointment to T-Mobile USA, which cited the technology as one of its differentiators after confirming it was finally going to offer the iPhone 5 from early April.