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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

One of the iPhone 5 features highlighted by Phil Schiller during yesterday's introduction was wideband audio, which offers "crisper word clarity and more natural sounding speech" according to Apple's press release. Schiller noted that the feature requires carrier support and that it would be supported by over 20 carriers on the iPhone 5 at launch, but did not specify which carriers those would be.


Phone Scoop reported late yesterday that Sprint has confirmed it will not support wideband audio (frequently marketed as "HD Voice") on the iPhone 5, and has a good overview of why none of the three major U.S. carriers are likely to support it.
There are three ways to do high-quality, or "wideband" voice calls.

One is to use a new codec, called AMR-WB, over a "3G GSM" (UMTS) network. That's what some European carriers are doing and what's in the iPhone. This is relatively easy to implement on the phone side, provided that the network supports it. In the U.S., only AT&T and T-Mobile would be eligible to do this, and they won't because they're focused on 4G (see below.)

The report goes on to discuss the other two mechanisms for providing HD Voice support, which include a CDMA-related codec being used by Sprint and voice-over-LTE technology being pursued by both AT&T and Verizon, but the iPhone 5 does not support either of those mechanisms.
The result is going to be extremely limited HD Voice experiences in the U.S. for at least a few years. It'll be restricted to calls between limited sets of phones, probably on the same carrier, and it won't be on the iPhone 5.
Beyond wideband audio, Schiller touted several other audio enhancements on the iPhone 5, including a total of three microphones for noise cancelation and accurate voice transcription, a smaller and improved speaker, and a noise-canceling earpiece.

(Images from The Verge)

Article Link: U.S. Carriers Unlikely to Support iPhone 5's Wideband Audio, European Support More Likely

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
Doesn't Orange in the UK have their "HD Voice" package already? I remember them advertising it a few years ago.

But remember, apple only caters to the American market. ;)

So because American carriers are less likely to adopt something Apple releases that undoes all the things Apple has done purely for the US Market? Such as way overcharging other Nations, Siri still gimped outside the US, not supporting 4G outside the US.


macrumors 6502
May 30, 2012
Manhattan, New York
Didn't Philler say "Deutsch Telecom" and "Orange" will support that feature on launch day? Why those small tiny countries but not the united states?
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macrumors member
Sep 7, 2012
So i am paying money for a "wideband audio" feature that at verizon i cannot access or use?

Orange Crane

macrumors 6502
Jul 17, 2012
Kind of like how mountain lion supports video mirroring to apple tv.. Except if you're using 90% of the apple hardware supposedly compatible wih ML that doesn't support video mirroring to apple tv.


macrumors 68000
Apr 4, 2003
That sucks! I absolutely detest cell audio quality and was really looking forward to this. It would only take a minuscule greater amount of bandwidth. Hell, they could charge me a couple bucks a month and I'd still get it.


macrumors 68000
Oct 28, 2011
If I use the iphone and dont use lte would i get better battery life with lte turned off?


macrumors regular
Jul 26, 2010
So i am paying money for a "wideband audio" feature that at verizon i cannot access or use?

Yes and no.

Yes, because you're paying for a feature that you won't be able to use.

No, because the iPhone would've cost the same with the feature or without it.

It's not like you previously had access to the feature and it was removed. So outside of the fact that US carriers suck I wouldn't lose any sleep over not having this new feature.


macrumors member
May 7, 2012
This is not good enough, I need to hear the smacking of my friends lips as he speaks.


macrumors 68030
Jan 22, 2009
Do yourself a big favor and use Skype and you'll see how crappy AT&T/Verizon/Any Cell provider's quality is.

Get a friend with an iPhone. Both download Skype (you'll need usernames, yuck, but whatever). Call your friend on Skype. Talk for at least 5 minutes. Hang up, then call using your carrier (AT&T/Verizon) and you'll see how these horrible the carrier's quality is.

I know AT&T is concerned on making money, but at least make some improvements to the voice network.


macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
We won't be able to experience this "HD Audio." However, those of us with AT&T get the privilege of paying more for shared data in order to use Facetime. Carriers suck. Carriers suck. Carriers suck.


macrumors 6502
Jan 13, 2012
That is too bad. Landline and cell phone both are horrible ... I never realized how bad they were until I used Skype from computer to computer using a decent headset. The sound quality difference is bigger than the difference between standard and HD TV. It sounded SO much better.

Hopefully with LTE becoming more common in the US, voice over LTE will give us better audio quality at some point in the future.


macrumors 6502
Mar 31, 2004
Washington, DC
Wait, where has it been confirmed that the iPhone does not support VoLTE?

Does the Qualcomm 9215 really not support VoLTE? The PC World article makes no references to sources for any of the information.
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