back to article Orange goes High Definition

Orange UK has launched an HD Voice service, so now a mobile phone can sound as clear as a good Skype connection if the technology is available end-to-end. The Orange service launches today, so if you rush out and buy one of the four available HD-Voice-compatible handsets and find some good 3G coverage, then you can make a …


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  1. dotdavid

    Just those phones?

    Orange say they are using the WB-AMR codec. Android, for example, seems to support the codec (at least that's what Wikipedia says, so it must be true!) so wouldn't that mean that most Android handsets also support this?

    Is this just a lame attempt for Orange to convince you to upgrade your handset, for no good reason?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I'm not 100% on this, I only write apps, rather than deep phone OS stuff, but my understanding is that the task of handling a phone call is done by the phone's hardware, rather than the OS.

      Something like:

      Call comes in via radio chip, which alerts the OS which prompts the user. The user accepts and the OS informs the hardware. The hardware then enables the mic & speaker until the call is terminated or the OS tells the hardware to terminate.

      In which case, even though Android does support the codec, the phone's hardware also needs to support it. This way you don't get CPU lag during a call if you're hammering your phone (think old WinMo phones that could barely show the Start Menu without lagging.)

      The hardware may provide methods for the OS to pick up the audio stream (for call recording or what not,) but I reckon that varies by handset/manufacturer.

      That is my understanding anyway, but like I say, I haven't read up on it in any great detail.

  2. Giles Jones Gold badge


    I think many people would rather have more 3G coverage than improved audio?

    What use is improved audio when it breaks up. What next, 5.1 surround audio?

  3. Craig 12

    Guaranteed success!

    You only need to be in the right coverage area, using a specific phone, calling specific people on a specific network.

    Sounds like MMS 10 years ago, which was such a fruitless endeavour for so long, I think people stopped caring, and even now twitpic is probably easier.

    A decent VOIP service will make HD voice equally redundant in a few years no doubt.

    1. Bonnie

      HD VoIP

      That decent VoIP service you're referring to would be using the very same AMR-WB codec as the Orange 3G HD handsets (some VoIP-capable Nokias already do). Not that I expect Orange to open up their cosy little walled garden to outsiders, but at least theoretically VoIP calls could be terminated to the Orange 3G network (and vice versa) without the need for transcoding, which generally wrecks HD quality.

  4. McMoo

    Jumping the gun

    Perhaps they ought to concentrate on their network, rather than silly gimmics.

    I regularly receive text messages from Orange, saying that I missed a call from someone, despite the handset being in a 5-bar signal area, and having it next to me - and it certainly dindn't ring.

    I've tested this with my landline, on several handsets, on several simcards, and Orange seems, at random, to simply not connect calls.

    Expand your network, make it work, don't piss around with this rubbish.

    1. Mitch Kent
      Thumb Down

      Not just calls...

      I have issues with data and text messages also. Worse lately (I'm guessing t-mobile integration) but I regularly go without data in areas I know I have had it before and will get text messages hours after they have sent and out of order. Sadly I have at least another year until my contract runs out - so they have time to rectify it - but if they do not I will be going. (that and the crap they stick on their phones as extra features you can't get rid of like monopoly trials really get on my nerves...)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re:Jumping the gun

      Do you have a phone with an always on data connection, if so you have probably out of 3G and have 5 bars of 2G connection. This means if your phone is busy doing something with data (even just checking to see if there are any new emails etc) you won't get the call as it can only handle data or voice.

      This is why I am looking for an Android App that will disable data on 2G connections and then re-enable it when I am back in 3G coverage.

  5. andy gibson

    jumping on the HD bandwagon

    I'm surprised they're not offering 3D audio.

  6. Mnot Paranoid

    Could not activate cellular data

    Orange should be concentrating on getting their 3G network to work properly rather than gimmicky distractions like this.

  7. stucs201

    ABC and/or 123

    Bet its still not as good as a decent landline...

  8. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Coverage? We've heard of it

    Yes, but where will this actually be useful? 90% of the country seems to have no 3G signal at all. The only place you can get a 3G signal is in large towns, and even then, only if you are lucky.

    They would be better served actually providing a nationwide 3G network.

  9. Bugs R Us

    Does anyone actually want HD Audio?

    There's nothing wrong with the standard definition voice calling. How did they even come up with this? I bet if asked, most Orange customers would want greater coverage over valueless gimickery. There are parts of Chesire and Kent countryside that have no Orange signal at all. This is more a ploy to get people to use expensive voice calling rather than cheaper texting.

  10. Buzzword
    Black Helicopters


    France Telecom owns several key patents on AMR-WB (the codec behind HD Voice). France Telecom also owns Orange. So no surprise to see them promoting it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      RE: Aha!

      France Telecom owns 50% of Everything Everywhere....

  11. dz-015

    Orange, what a stupid company

    They ought to concentrate on fixing their crappy infrastructure and diabolical customer 'support' instead of wasting resources on nonsense like this.

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