The Landline Case for Consumer HD Voice (Carriers, Wake up!)


The cable industry and many smaller independent phone operators running voice over IP can't convince themselves that offering HD voice service is a good idea. Moving outside of the borders of the United States, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Turkcell Supercell and various other operators in European countries are delivering HD voice to consumers today. Service providers need to realize the clock is ticking on narrowband voice and they ignore moving to HD at their own peril.

Mobile network voice quality is already on a significant improvement path. (Yes, you there, stop laughing). T-Mobile US is already delivering HD voice via its existing 3G HSPA network while AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon have all vowed to deploy HD voice over the next 12 to 18 months. AT&T promised it would turn up HD voice and VoLTE by the end of this year, while Verizon's latest promises put its VoLTE offering in the first half of 2014. 

Will mobile HD voice bring more "cord cutters"? Certainly, carriers are already seeing underperform on the once-vaunted triple play of voice, video, and Internet with consumers selecting a video/Internet bundle and dropping voice all together for a mobile solution. Landline voice is an ARPU issue. If mobile HD voice is a better solution, more people are going to move to it. Offering HD voice is a competitive solution to watching ARPU decline.

Let me be clear: HD voice is not a magic solution to minutes decline or landline usage. Trying to equate profits with voice minutes has been broken for years with the advent of flat-rate plans. Landline usage decline is a much more complex issue, fed by happy-happy-joy-joy stories of cord cutters. The reality is that there's still a substantial need for landline services because mobile coverage is not, and will not be, universal anytime in the far future.

Adding mobile HD service voice quality improvements to a product provides better business and contact center efficiencies. One of the primary (and time-consuming) interfaces customers have with service providers is the telephone. Customers call to get billing and technical problems fixed, as well as to add and cancel services and features. 

HD voice provides a clearer and improved means of communication with the customer. While there are no case studies, anecdotal evidence suggests the average interaction time with the customer should decrease, resulting in more calls served in a given time period and less stress on call center employees because they don't have to strain to understand what customers are saying. 

Finally, HD voice provides better data for machine processes. Everything from voicemail-to-text to voice biometrics and Siri-style personal assistants benefits from more accurate data (clear voice). More accurate data translates to faster processing and more efficiency, so customers are happy and more can be done with existing cloud services.

Will landline carriers take up HD voice sooner rather than later? Only time will tell, but the clock is ticking as mobile HD voice continues to propagate. It is difficult to make an argument over the long run that narrowband voice should remain the standard of choice in any consumer offering.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Contributing Editor

Related Articles

Coding and Invention Made Fun

By: Special Guest    10/12/2018

SAM is a series of kits that integrates hardware and software with the Internet. Combining wireless building blocks composed of sensors and actors con…

Read More

Facebook Marketplace Now Leverages AI

By: Paula Bernier    10/3/2018

Artificial intelligence is changing the way businesses interact with customers. Facebook's announcement this week is just another example of how this …

Read More

Oct. 17 Webinar to Address Apache Spark Benefits, Tools

By: Paula Bernier    10/2/2018

In the upcoming webinar "Apache Spark: The New Enterprise Backbone for ETL, Batch and Real-time Streaming," industry experts will offer details on clo…

Read More

It's Black and White: Cybercriminals Are Spending 10x More Than Enterprises to Control, Disrupt and Steal

By: Cynthia S. Artin    9/26/2018

In a stunning new report by Carbon Black, "Hacking, Escalating Attacks and The Role of Threat Hunting" the company revealed that 92% of UK companies s…

Read More

6 Challenges of 5G, and the 9 Pillars of Assurance Strategy

By: Special Guest    9/17/2018

To make 5G possible, everything will change. The 5G network will involve new antennas and chipsets, new architectures, new KPIs, new vendors, cloud di…

Read More