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Cross-border HD Voice broadcast opportunity

Kevin Hilton 24 October 2012
Cross-border HD Voice broadcast opportunity

In a world first telecom group Orange has connected the mobile networks of two countries using HD Voice. The higher quality link between Romania and Moldova could signal greater flexibility for broadcasters now using HD Voice for audio reporting. HD Voice is based on adaptive multi-rate wide-band (AMR-WB) codecs delivering 7kHz or 3.5kHz audio bandwidth on 3G networks. Radio stations have adopted the technology for live reporting because it produces better quality connections than standard phone lines and is cheaper than ISDN. HD Voice also featured as part of BBC Television’s coverage of the Olympic Torch Relay this year for audio-only reports. The spread of HD Voice is increasing, with mobile networks in 31 countries now offering it. Orange is operating the technology in 14 countries, including Armenia, Belgium, France, Spain and the UK, with plans to launches services in Africa and the Middle East by the end of this year. Orange became the first company to introduce HD Voice in Moldova during 2009, as part of its strategy to make the format a general communications standard. Commenting on the cross-border connection between Moldova and Romania, Paul-François Fournier, executive vice president of Orange’s Technocentre, said, "Mobile HD voice offers noticeably better audio quality and brings a real satisfaction to Orange clients. Almost 4 million customers have switched to HD voice in 14 countries, compared to 1 million customers a year ago." Among the manufacturers producing broadcast equipment based on HD Voice is Glensound Electronics, which produces the GS-MPI004 HD reporter’s mobile phone (pictured under test at the Goodwood Festival of Speed). The company’s sales and marketing manager, Marc Wilson, called Orange’s announcement "great news", even though the connection was over only one border. "The significance for broadcast is huge," he said. "As HD Voice awareness expands in broadcast, cross-border calling is a frequent request. I should think broadcasters such as the BBC World Service would be very interested as the HD Voice borders open up. We look forward to cross-network and then mobile to landline HD Voice."

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