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AT&T to offer iPhone 5-compatible HD Voice later this year

At the VentureBeat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Calif., on Monday, AT&T Senior Vice President Kris Rinne announced that the second-largest U.S. carrier will roll out support for HD Voice over its 4G LTE network sometime this year.

iPhone 5

Source: Apple

Rinne, who is in charge of network technologies at AT&T, said wideband audio, better known as HD Voice, will see deployment as the telecom moves voice calling over to its LTE network, reports AllThingsD. Apple's iPhone 5 boasts hardware capable of delivering the high-quality audio, but in order to work, telecoms must also support the protocol.

“HD Voice is part of our voice over LTE strategy,” Rinne said.

AT&T has been derided for its sub-par performance regarding the audio quality of its phone calls, with one informal test finding Sprint to have the best sound compared to AT&T and Verizon. As the "Big Four" U.S. carriers slowly move to next-generation wireless technologies, the networks' selling points appear to be moving from less dropped calls and signal strength to fastest data speeds and best sounding voice calls.

T-Mobile announced less than one week ago that it will be the first U.S. carrier to support the high-fidelity communications technology when it finally launches the iPhone 5 on April 12. Sprint has also sounded off about its own HD Voice offering, but the service has yet to materialize.