Wideband audio/HD voice network support in the UK?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by john9876, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. john9876 macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Does anyone know which UK networks will support HD voice/wideband audio on the iPhone 5?

    At the iPhone 5 keynote Apple said 20 networks would support it at launch.

    I can't find any information on which UK networks will support it but it seems the only ones which already have HD voice on other phones are Orange and Three.

    I've seen several articles mentioning that none of the US mobile networks will support it on the iPhone 5 - the networks with HD voice there seem to use a different standard. I think that in theory at least the UK networks should be able to support it though?

    There are a few posts on Three forums suggesting that even some phones which support HD voice require a firmware update to make them compatible with Three's implementation.
  2. john9876 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    No interest in this new feature? Call quality is one of my biggest issues with the iPhones!

    Anyway, I'm currently on O2 so tried to find out using their website chat support whether they have plans to support HD voice/wideband audio. There was quite a long delay between chat replies so whilst waiting I also asked about when they're launching their long-delayed picocell or UMA products. I discovered they don't support HD voice/wideband audio, presumably have no plans to and they terminated the chat before I could ask anything else. Never did get a reply on O2 Connect (their calls over wifi trial). Transcript as follows:-

    You're through to Sol.

    Sol: Hi I'm O2 : Sol. How can I help?

    John: Hi. Do you know whether O2 will be supporting HD voice/wideband audio on the iPhone 5 when it launches (or at a later date)? Apple said that 20 carriers would support it at launch. I know that Orange and Three support HD voice on other handsets, not sure whether O2 does or not? I'm currently on O2 contract but am looking at my options for the new iPhone.

    Sol: Okay.

    Sol: Can you help me with your full name and number please?

    John: [providing info requested]

    Sol: Thanks.

    Sol: Give me few minutes please.

    John: Thanks Sol. On a separate note, do you know anything about whether/when the O2 BoostBox or O2 Connect will be made available to personal customers? I have very poor reception in my house despite being near to a full-power O2 base station. A picocell or wi-fi call routing would be the perfect solutions. You probably know that other networks offer one or the other, whereas O2 have had them on trial for over a year...

    Sol: Let me check this for you.

    [bunch of account security question Q and As - not sure why needed]

    Sol: Thanks.

    Sol: Give me few minutes please.

    Sol: I can't comment on the BoostBox.;

    Sol: As we don't have any update on it.

    Sol: For any information on the iPhone 5, please click on iPhone 5 pages within the website.

    Sol: I haven't heard from you for a while. Are you still there?

    John: Yes. I was waiting for answers to the questions! Any word on HD voice/wideband audio support? Since there's nothing on the O2 website about it, can I take it you don't support it? I know I'm currently on a low-value plan but I am wanting to pay more for better quality service. Looks like the lack of a picocell product, UMA/wi-fi call routing and HD voice support on O2 means going elsewhere to spend more money!

    Sol: I'm sorry but we don't provide the HD Voice services.

    O2 has ended this chat session.
  3. john9876 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Okay, have tried asking Orange via their live chat.

    They didn't know whether Orange will support wideband audio/HD voice. Unlike O2 they didn't go away and ask, but they did said they would ask their marketing people to work on it. Doesn't look like English was their first language, but at least they were faster and more polite than O2...


    You're now chatting to Tia.

    Tia: Hello, you're chatting to Tia. I am part of the dedicated Orange Online Sales Team. How can I help you with your new order?

    Tia: Hello John.

    Tia: John, Welcome to Orange Online Sales Team , Now You are Chatting With Orange Online Sales Team, Who can offer you the Online Deals Only For New Customers Only.

    Tia: How can I help you with your new order?

    John: Hi, Tia. Do you know whether Orange will support Wideband Audio (HD voice) on the iPhone 5 at launch? Apple mentioned that 20 networks would support it at launch but there's nothing on the Orange or Apple websites to confirm.

    Tia: Please allow me to read this.

    Tia: John, We can also confirm you form Orange website only & till now it has not updated yet. I don't want to give you any false statement.

    Tia: I will definitely pass your comment to our Marketing team. So, that they will work on this very soon.

    Tia: I haven't heard from you for a while. Is everything OK?

    John: Yes, thank you.

    Tia: Is there anything else I can help you with?

    John: It doesn't look like the HD voice pages on the website have been updated for a while!

    John: No, thank you. Bye!

    Tia: Thank you for chatting with us. Have a nice day!

    This chat has been ended by your Orange advisor.
  4. john9876 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Three's support chat say that they *will* support wideband audio/HD voice!

    They also get the prize for most helpful and polite CS rep (and the most determined to get a sale). I'm surprised given my experience a few years ago of some unspeakably bad service from them. Looks like they may be trying to turn a corner.


    Thanks for contacting us. An operator will be with you shortly...
    [Govind] Hi, welcome to Three.

    [Govind] How are you doing today?

    [Visitor] Hi. Do you know whether Three will support HD voice/Wideband Audio on the iPhone 5 at launch? Apple said that 20 networks would support it at launch, can't find any information on the Three or Apple websites though about which networks...

    [Govind] I'll be glad to check this for you, please give me 2 to 3 minutes while I help you with the information.

    [Visitor] Thank you Govind. John.

    [Govind] You are welcome.

    [Govind] John, kindly stay online as I'm still this information for you.

    [Govind] Thanks for waiting.

    [Govind] Yes we do support HD voice Wideband audio on the iPhone5.

    [Govind] Are you looking for an upgrade on your existing contract with us or want to join three?

    [Visitor] Okay, that's good news. Thank you very much for checking, Govind. I'll be looking at taking out a new contract but not today, wanted to know about HD voice first. Bye!

    [Govind] You are welcome, may I know when do you plan to come back online to buy your deal?

    [Visitor] I'm not sure, I'll probably try to get stock in a shop when I sign up. Sorry if that deprives you of a commission. You have been very helpful and definitely improved my (previously poor) experience of Three's customer services!

    [Govind] You are most welcome, and we want you to be our customer and enjoy our services.

    [Visitor] Thanks Govind. Bye.

    [Govind] However I cannot assure you that you'll get the same deal in store as our offers exclusive to online purchase only.

    [terminated chat, feeling bad]
  5. Westyfield2 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 9, 2009
    Bath, UK.
    I remember Orange mentioning HD Voice a while ago when I was buying an HTC from them.

    Is the Wideband audio/HD voice in the iPhone 5 a proper standard that (providing the carrier supports it) will work with other phones? Or it it iPhone 5 to iPhone 5 only?
  6. NATO macrumors 68000


    Feb 14, 2005
    Northern Ireland
    Do BOTH parties not need to have a supported phone (AND carrier) in order for HD Voice to work?

    Ie, there's no point you sending your voice over HD Voice to a phone that doesn't support it (even if its on the same network), or to someone on a different network which doesn't support HD Voice.

    It's certainly a 'nice to have' feature but I can't see this really taking off unless there's wholesale support by the various networks and phone makers.

    It would be nice if Apple were able to get the ball rolling on this, I know it's been tried years before without any success.
  7. mikey2004 macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2009
    Portadown, Norn Iron
    02 said last week they wouldnt be supporting the wideband audio
  8. john9876 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    It appears that there are at least 3 ways to implement "HD voice" but it looks as if it should be a fairly uniform standard on "3G GSM" networks...

    I guess that whether one network passes HD quality calls to another will depend on inter-network cooperation (like sending SMS between networks was originally impossible in the 90s).

    It should at least work between different model phones on the same network though, I think? Certainly that seems to be how it works according to Orange and Three.


    True. Since my wife and I will both be upgrading and using the same network though, it would certainly benefit us straight away if there's a network which is supporting the feature on iPhone 5. As to other handset users and those on different networks - well, you have to start somewhere!


    Interesting. I didn't see that at the time. Thank you.
  9. john9876 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Not really. I did find those, thank you, but you'll notice in the comments there that some HD Voice compatible handsets which do work on Orange apparently require specific firmware to work on Three. Aside from that, with Apple calling the feature "Wideband Audio", it's not exactly 100% clear that it will work with UK networks' "HD Voice" standards. That's why, although I know both Three and Orange have "HD Voice" available already on some other handsets, I'd like to know specifically whether they (or anyone else) are supporting Apple's implementation of "Wideband Audio".
  10. ct2k7 macrumors 603


    Aug 29, 2008
    London or Florida

    If you look at the implementation documents, you'll see that it is very similar if not the same to what Apple call Wideband audio - I also believe that the "Wideband audio" lists Three UK as a participant in the technology being deployed.

    However, you should note that just because they may support Apple's implementation, which is a standard, I believe, the iPhone may not actually support it on the Three UK network. I would contact Apple Customer Service for a direct answer.
  11. mikey2004 macrumors regular


    Apr 15, 2009
    Portadown, Norn Iron
    I believe the wideband audio is exclusive to EE in the UK

  12. daveishere macrumors 6502a


    Dec 2, 2008
    o2 replied to me saying 'never say never' on twitter when i asked about hd voice
  13. john9876 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 14, 2008
    Thanks, ct2K7.

    I agree that Apple CS would be a more authoritative source than the sales departments of the relevant networks. I'll see if I can find a link for a UK CS dept. at Apple.

    I did try searching the Apple website for further documentation/specs but couldn't find anything. Do you have any (public) links for the implementation docs?

    It will no doubt become clearer after the launch who is and isn't supporting it...
  14. duggabugga macrumors newbie

    Sep 17, 2012
    Orange and T-Mobile today announced Orange and T-Mobile*will allow*iPhone 5*customers to connect to its fast*HSPA+*and DC-HSDPA networks*with Wideband Audio. EE will offer iPhone 5 on its 4G LTE network with Wideband Audio when it launches in the coming weeks.

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