As I mentioned in a recent Insight, there are several mobile networks today that support HD Voice (mostly in Europe), and a few models of mobile devices with HD Voice are starting to appear, but nothing is happening in the US yet. I believe that this will change in 2012.
Operators with 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) networks will begin launching Voice over LTE (VoLTE) service this year. AlthoughHD Voice can be supported by 3G (and even2G) networks, LTE network operators will want todifferentiate theirnew 4G networks and VoLTE serviceswith noticeable improvements in voice quality, which means they willwantto offer HD Voice. The demand forHD Voice inVoLTE phones will provide thecritical mass necessary toencourage thedevice manufacturers toproducelarge quantities ofphone models with HD Voice, which should lead to widespread adoption.
Last week's announcement by Sprint of the HTC EVO 4G LTE is the first mobile device to be offered in the US with HD Voice. Expect more to come as Verizon and MetroPCS and other operators pre-load the market with VoLTE-capable phones prior to the actuallaunch of VoLTE service laterthis year.
For more information on HD Voice, see our 2010 research report Mobile HD Voice.