Just as I was publishing the report on Quality of Mobile Communications I saw a press release about a report by a carrier-oriented research firm highlighting that HD-quality audio was a feature on next generation smartphones requiring an upgrade to the 3G networks in service in the US today. It made me stop for a moment and digest what they were saying…

There were several points of the press release:

  1. that HD audio will appear in Eastern Europe, Asia and African networks first because many of the mobile operators are only now rolling out 3G services, and so can enable the feature right away as part of their current network upgrade plans. North Americans will have to wait until the network lifecycle ends and 4G is widely available, probably in 2012 or 2013 as I recall from the report.
  2. Users may not actually pay more, but operators will use quality as a reason to subscribe to their network.

Beyond these two points, I struggled to appreciate why audio quality was going to be a big deal. Today, our research shows it as third place after reliability and availability (coverage) overall, and among European business users audio quality is fourth after reliability, security and availability (coverage).

Clearly, network operators have to continue the strides they’ve made over the past decade in avoiding call drops and improving coverage.

I had a brainstorm the other night with a friend of mine that a useful automated experience quality client and server would help the operators separate out systematic errors from random events. Let me know what you think about this idea.

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