Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2

Sprint is planning to launch HD voice in the next month or two on a market-by-market basis, after working out some initial kinks, a spokeswoman has confirmed to Light Reading.

The carrier first announced support for HD voice last year on the HTC Evo LTE, but it's just now getting ready to bake in network support in select markets.

This time last year, Sprint VP of Product Development Fared Adib said the carrier would fully support the technology as it upgraded its network by the first quarter of 2013. The carrier reports Q1 earnings tomorrow morning, however, and a spokeswoman admits HD voice has taken longer than anticipated.

"We had a few things that came out of our FIT [field integration testing] testing in Q4 that we needed to resolve to ensure a really good customer experience," the spokeswoman writes in an email to Light Reading. "Those have been resolved and now we’re planning the roll-out."

Supporting HD voice is no small task. The wideband codec technology requires both handsets to support it with two microphones and noise-cancelling software, the network to support it and operators to use the same radio standards to hear the full benefit of the improved audio.

The Sprint spokeswoman says that Sprint's HD voice will be limited at launch. Not only can a Sprint customer with an HD voice handset not call another capable phone on AT&T or Verizon, but he can't even call across Sprint's OEMs, Alcatel-Lucent, Ericsson and Samsung. That means that a customer in California on an Ericsson base station can't call one in NYC on Samsung. She said it may take several months to achieve interoperability.

Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) and LTE-Advanced are also on Sprint's roadmap, according to the spokeswoman, but it has yet to announce timing or any actual deployments.

Sprint competitor AT&T has said it plans to launch VoLTE-capable handsets this year, and SVP Kris Rinne said that HD voice would be part of that strategy. T-Mobile's new iPhone 5 also supports the high-def technology. Verizon Wireless has committed to VoLTE smartphones in2014 but has yet to make a firm commitment to HD voice as part of its 4G-voice strategy.

-- Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Fabian Cortez 11/23/2014 | 4:07:22 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2 Late reply. But I can thank my trolls for that. :) 

"You're commenting on an article that's a full year old. Sprint just now said it will launch HD voice nationwide this summer, so i think it was safe to say it'd be quite awhile back then...." 

So does that mean my point is invalid? Absoloutely not. If anything, I was speaking as if it was still April 2013 since my statement was correct in relation to the original article. 

HD Voice was commercially released in the United States to potentially 45 million subscribers in January of 2013 on T-Mobile. Your article was written in April 2013 which is four months later. That is plenty of time for some people to hear HD Voice for quite some time. 

I mentioned that what you said (that I quoted) was ignorant because it was just that, ignorant. Here's a definition of the word ignorant: "lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular." 

I did not call you ignorant so please do not take that as a personal attack. 

It is always important [and responsible] to report the news as acurately as possible in order to maintain your website's credibility. Otherwise, why would I or anyone else bother to come here if the information is inaccurate.
mendyk 4/4/2014 | 3:14:11 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2 Dear Fabian -- You can disagree with someone without insulting that person. You should try that once in a while.
Sarah Thomas 4/4/2014 | 2:59:43 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2 You're commenting on an article that's a full year old. Sprint just now said it will launch HD voice nationwide this summer, so i think it was safe to say it'd be quite awhile back then....
Fabian Cortez 4/4/2014 | 2:21:52 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2  


"but good thing they also support regular voice, because no one will be hearing HD for quite awhile..."

That's an ignorant thing to say. 

You're writing articles in the "3G/HSPA" section of this website yet you don't have a clue about what you're talking about.

I'd argue that the 45+ million subscribers (assuming that all subscribers have capable handsets) that T-Mobile has are hearing HD Voice. Not to mention that HD Voice has been commercially released since 2008.
Fabian Cortez 4/4/2014 | 1:48:50 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2  

It's not compatible with anyone's network. HD Voice is network-specific for the moment. 

So while T-Mobile USA and Orange in Europe may use the same HD Voice standard (AMR-WB) over their 3G networks (UMTS/HSPA+), the phone call will default to the non HD Voice standard of AMR-NB. 

Network Vision may be a prerequisite for HD Voice but it's not very wise to assume that it has to do with the LTE network. It has nothing to do with the LTE network. This is not VoLTE.

VoLTE deals with packets (packet-switched) and is no longer circuit-switched. With VoLTE, minutes will be a thing of the past as voice calls will probably be counted as data, because it's just that, data. There may be some form of conversion à la m number of songs can be stored in n size of storage or m number of songs can be downloaded using n speed of internet. But in all reality that is one of the main reasons why the twin bells have not launched VoLTE yet (data buckets/shared data anyone?). Additionally, VoLTE requires HD Voice codec AMR-WB (more data usage). How do you guarantee unlimited voice calls when you're (twin bells) already claiming that unlimited data is gone for good? Only MetroPCS has implemented VoLTE in the US. Another reason is coverage. It is easier to initiate a voice call using circuit switching versus packet switching when you've got a low signal. A low signal usually entails a low data connection which would be terrible when attempting to send packets. Packet loss ensures bad quality of service (ever Skype'd on a bad connection?).

Sprint has implemented HD Voice codec EVRC-NW (Narrowband-Wideband) over their CDMA network. Network Vision upgraded their 1x network to 1x-Advanced and 1x-Advanced brought HD Voice along with it. 

The unfortunate thing for Sprint and Verizon is that only select phones will be able to access HD Voice over their CDMA network, unlike the HD Voice that T-Mobile (eventually AT&T) and the rest of the world uses. 

This is why people were able to use HD Voice on the iPhone 5 in January of 2013 (when T-Mobile launched HD Voice) even though T-Mobile wasn't an official carrier. The other 3 official carriers did not support this feature and still do not to this day! 

Apple has started to more and more build their phones to international standards that T-Mobile already complies to: HD Voice, DC-HSDPA (42Mbps) and HSPA+ (21Mbps), which both include simulatenous voice and data.

A list of HD Voice capable smartphones that will work on T-Mobile (and eventually AT&T) here in the US and other GSM/UMTS carriers in the world: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Smartphones_using_HD_Voice
lanbrown 5/13/2013 | 7:37:37 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2 How do we know that they are not using 3GPP's AMR-WB? The codec and the transport are not tied together. It would actually make a lot more sense that it would be using 3GPP's AMR-WB codec as any phone that will support VoLTE will already have support for that codec. The network also needs to support it; since Sprint is moving towards LTE and especially VoLTE, it would make much more sense that the Sprint HD voice service actually did use 3GPP's AMR-WB codec.
Sarah Thomas 4/24/2013 | 10:28:36 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2 No, it's not compatible with AT&T nor T-Mobile...another big limitation. Sprint said that "Network Vision is a pre-req for HD Voice," so I think it's only supported on the LTE network. The phones listed are all LTE-compatible.
lrmobile_Ziggy 4/24/2013 | 7:57:39 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2 Is this HD Voice service offered over their 3G CDMA network? If so, it's most likely not compatible with other HD Voice services offered by AT&T and T-Mobile, which are based on 3GPP's AMR-WB.
Sarah Thomas 4/24/2013 | 2:00:05 PM
re: Sprint Delays HD Voice Launch to Q2 Sprint actually has a lot of devices that support HD Voice, but good thing they also support regular voice, because no one will be hearing HD for quite awhile...


Sprint Flash (ZTE)

LG Optimus G

Sprint Force (ZTE)

Samsung GS3

Samsung Galaxy Victory

Samsung Note 2

Kyocera Torque



Samsung Galaxy Victory
ZTE Force
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