Ten years ago, it was all about voice and text. The BlackBerry had just been released in its well-known form, but it was a business-only device. Consumers still focused on the quality of calls, since that was the common usage at the time. In 2003, wireless customers certainly would have appreciated HD voice features. But in 2013? The shift has certainly focused.
While there is a segment of the population that still uses cell phones primarily for voice, the market as a whole has shifted to data services. Customers are flocking to new LTE phones, which run on networks that approximate the speeds of their cable internet connections. Yet T-Mobile is forging ahead with their voice efforts, rolling out an HD voice service.
Clearly their emphasis is on LTE. While T-Mobile HSPA+ network does run at quality speeds, it just doesn’t match the capacity of LTE networks from competitors. That makes this HD voice roll-out a bit curious. Presumably it did not detract from LTE efforts; that would have been foolish. But HD voice just doesn’t seem to be a feature that consumers crave.
Perhaps if added for feature phones, including no-contract phones, T-Mobile would be onto something. But the HD voice service is compatible with only a select few handsets, most of them being Android smartphones. While it might be a nice feature, no one buys the Samsung Galaxy S III for its voice quality. They buy for the ways it consumes data. That would indicate that LTE is a bit more important for T-Mobile than HD voice.
Last year Sprint rolled out a similar feature, but it went largely unnoticed. It certainly hasn’t given them a significant bump in subscriber totals. So why has T-Mobile put a focus on this? Perhaps it will eventually benefit the voice-consuming portion of its subscribers. But for the moment, those who have it available by and large don’t care about voice. Fewer and fewer customers do these days.
Via Phone Scoop.