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Network provider Orange is commencing tests for its HD Voice mobile technology that will allow for greatly improved audio quality during standard calls, with the potential for an August roll-out.

The HD Voice service will use the 3G network to provide clearer audio. Orange has started trials in Bristol, Reading and Southampton, with the finished product destined to arrive across the country without its customers having to pay a penny more.

The first test runs have pleased independent observers, who report that not only does the HD Voice bring better general sound quality, but it also eliminates the majority of external noise.

Richer, more varied tones are produced as a result of the technology, which means that conversations will sound far more realistic.

Andrew Warner of Orange told Tech Radar: "It's an open standard. Other networks will use it, but we'll be first in the UK."

The initial tests have taken place using Nokia X6 smartphones with updated software, although Orange says that many more mobiles will be compatible with the service in the coming months, with widespread manufacturer uptake expected by the end of next year.

HD Voice essentially doubles the amount of bandwidth that you use when on a voice call, allowing for clearer voice data to be sent.

All of this is achieved without a subsequent doubling in data use, as the experts have been careful to encode the audio in the most efficient way possible.

Orange is going to give more details about its HD Voice roll-out as they become available. It is apparently going to use Moldova as a testing ground because the 3G networking equipment installed there has only recently been activated.

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