Vodafone Germany claims European first for enhanced voice services

Vodafone Germany claimed to be the first mobile network operator in Europe to roll out enhanced voice services (EVS) in order to provide higher quality voice services on its LTE network.

The operator dubbed the technology Vodafone Crystal Clear and said it was based on the EVS codec that was standardised in 3GPP Release 12 specifications for LTE.

The purpose of EVS is to enable “vastly improved voice quality, network capacity and advanced features for voice services over LTE,” according to a 3GPP release.

“EVS is the first 3GPP conversational codec offering up to 20 kHz audio bandwidth, delivering speech quality that matches other audio input such as stored music, while offering high robustness to delay jitter and packet losses,” the standardisation group added.

Unlike its predecessor, AMR, which was used for initial VoLTE deployments and marketed as “HD Voice,” EVS was developed and optimised specifically for LTE, noted Spirent Communications and Signals Research Group (SRG) in their latest All Things VoLTE report.

Michael Thelander, president of SRG, said the new voice codec lived up to its hype both in lab tests and in trials on a commercial network.

“The bottom line, EVS outperforms its predecessors and exhibited significant benefits,” Thelander said, although he added: “Testing in a commercial network meant dealing with an uncontrolled environment where variances in the test results were inevitable due to the nature of the beast.”

Vodafone Germany said the technology would be added to smartphones through free firmware updates in the coming weeks. It’s not clear whether other national Vodafone operators will also start to provide the technology to their customers. Vodafone Group said it had nothing further to announce on the issue.

Like many operators in Europe, Vodafone has placed a strong focus on improving the quality of voice services on today’s IP-based networks such as LTE. The company has already rolled out voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) services and Wi-Fi calling in a number of markets including Germany in order to improve both the quality and availability of voice services.

For more:
- see this Vodafone Germany release (in German)

- see this release from Spirent and SRG

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