[East African Business Week] Orange Uganda, one of five GSM operators in Uganda's high stakes telecoms sector has pulled a first on its competition by launching high definition (HD) voice calls.
The company said it will capitalise on its country-wide 3G+ network to deliver its new offering, which promises users a significantly improved quality of service when making calls.
HD calls have a noise reduction technology that cuts out unnecessary noise on either line of the conversation thus reducing background noise, hisses and crackles of normal mobile calls.
"This is a first in Sub-Saharan Africa, bringing a new era of telecommunications in Uganda," Anisha Sekatawa, the company brand manager said.
She said mobile HD voice allows a user "to have a conversation which is so natural that it sounds like you are in the same room as the person you are talking to." She said shouting down the phone, a common thing in a noisy environment, will be no more with HD Voice.
"Your conversation will be so clear even when you talk normally. And when someone calls you from a noisy place, you'll be able to hear them much better with HD voice," Sekatawa said.
She said twith its crystal clear, superior sound quality, HD Voice will deliver excellent audio quality to mobile calls, where customers get to experience the best sound quality.
To enjoy HD voice though, one needs an HD Voice enabled handset and 3G coverage for both the caller and receiver.
It will however require most users to purchase a new handset.
There are phones on the market that are already HD ready. Orange Uganda has launched the offer with two new handsets; a ZTE F160 and an LG Saffron handsets that are now available at Orange outlets.
HD voice runs on a 3G+ network and gives louder, clearer, sharper mobile calls because it uses what is called Wide-Band Adaptive Multi-rate (the WB - AMR) speech codec which provides excellent audio quality due to a wider speech bandwidth than the usual one.
Orange, the mobile brand of France Telecom has two operations in East Africa.
The operations in Kenya launched in 2008 while those in Uganda in 2009.
While the two operations have pushed more in the data segment of the market, they are launching offerings in the voice market that are meant to pull users.
In Kenya, Orange recently launched an offer that enables users sign up for a Smartphone of their choice, which they then go ahead to pay up to two years.
On offer are a Nokia N8, a Samsung Scala B7330 and a Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 - all high-end Smartphones that cost hundreds of US dollars.
In Africa with the exception of markets like South Africa, users have to fully pay for a handset before they can own one.
Orange Launches HD Voice Calls