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Thu, May 9, 2013 11:00 AM

Starhub Introduces HD Voice To The Masses

In today’s technological arms race, the words High Definition (HD for short) have often come to represent a feature of premium marquees. Having been introduced over the past few years, Full HD TVs and digital cameras with Full HD video recording are now a dime a dozen. Starhub Mobile has fired its latest salvo by being the first telco in Singapore to introduce HD Voice. To be exact, Starhub launched this service on 7 Mar 2013.


HD Voice On Starhub




How does HD Voice work exactly? It allows you to hear the other party better by augmenting your voice and reducing background noise to the extent that it feels like you are in the same room! The use of wideband speech technology allows for a broader sound spectrum to transmit fuller human speech and uses a higher digital encoding rate to ensure accuracy. Islandwide coverage also ensures that we can enjoy the clarity of HD Voice anywhere in our sunny island. Best of all, this is available at no additional charge to the Starhub subscriber and does not utilize any mobile data at all! All you need to possess is a Starhub SmartSurf plan and a HD Voice-enabled mobile phone. No sign up is required. For Starhub subscribers not presently on SmartSurf, HD Voice will be rolled out gradually from 3Q 2013. Do take note that to enjoy the benefits of HD Voice, BOTH parties need to be on SmartSurf plans and use HD Voice-enabled phones. The list of supported handsets include some of the most popular handsets available at Starhub shops today, like the Samsung Galaxy S4 LTE and iPhone 5.




iPhone 5


9810, Z10


Optimus L5, Optimus L7, Optimus 4XHD, Optimus VU, Optimus L9, Optimus G




Lumia 610, Lumia 720, Lumia 900, Lumia 920


Galaxy S4 LTE, Galaxy S3 LTE, Galaxy Note 2 LTE


Xperia Sola, Xperia Go, Xperia V, Xperia Z


There will be no indication on the handset screen to indicate that the phone call is a HD Voice call but the clarity in the conversation will probably tell you so. As shown in the video below, the background noise cancellation does wonders for enhancing clarity of the voice on the other end of the line.  At the present moment, only local phone calls are HD Voice-enabled; overseas roaming phone calls will still be on the older bandwidth.



HD Voice Review


I managed to get my hands on a Samsung S4 LTE and tried out the HD Voice feature with my wife, who is using an Apple iPhone 5. True enough, the background noise cancellation was significant and her voice did come across as being clearer. The improvement over the normal voice calls that we have grown accustomed to will best be felt in a noisy environment, such as when you are in a market or crowded mall. This additional feature fully underlines Starhub’s emphasis on improving mobile phone consumer experience and gets a huge thumbs up from me. I mean, come on, it’s free right? What could be better than that? Perhaps the only bugbear with regards to HD Voice is the fact that only newer handsets introduced from 2H2013 onwards support the feature. Nonetheless, by innovating in the area of voice call quality, Starhub has perhaps forced the other telcos to jump on the HD Voice (or wideband audio) bandwagon and I believe that in time to come, this feature will become the new norm in voice calls in Singapore.



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