High definition (HD) voice calling is phone technology that reduces background noise and creates clearer audio connections. It has become the standard for most mobile service carriers and a feature found in the best business phone systems. However, HD calling comes with a higher price tag and requires a faster internet connection for voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) phone calls.
How HD Calling Works
HD voice calling works by compressing audio content into data packets before sending this content to a receiving server. The packets are then opened by the receiving server and decompressed. Traditional low definition voice calls limit call frequencies to 300 Hz to 3.4 kHz. HD voice calling’s wideband audio transmits call frequencies at a range of 50 Hz to 7 kHz (or higher), which is much closer to the human voice frequency (between 75 Hz and 14 kHz).
This isn’t brand-new technology—VoIP apps like Skype and Zoom have been using HD calling for years. However, it’s now available to mobile carriers thanks to the emergence of voice-over-long-term-evolution (VoLTE), which uses 4G or 5G networks to increase data speed and call quality.
While HD voice calling is spreading in terms of adoption and popularity, traditional analog phone lines and some lower-cost VoIP services still rely on low-definition voice calling. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If a business doesn’t have access to a reliable network, the lower-definition frequencies used by traditional voice calls can actually lead to better call performance.
This is because poor network quality can make data packets get lost in transit, causing choppy conversations and dropped calls. Therefore, companies that don’t have access to a high-speed network are better off spending their money on noise-canceling headphones and standalone phone applications (like WhatsApp and Skype) if they would like to improve their overall call quality instead of upgrading to a more expensive business phone plan.
HD Voice Calling Pros & Cons
|Clearer, crisper audio conversations||Requires fast internet connection|
|More accurate voicemail-to-text and email transcriptions||Not available on all devices|
|Fewer dropped calls||Phone plans are more expensive|
HD-ready Virtual Phone Providers & Standalone Apps
Your business can take advantage of HD voice calling by using certain virtual phone providers or standalone apps. Here are some of the best options that support HD voice calling:
Phone.com provides businesses with HD voice calling, automated attendants, call management features, and other fundamental VoIP features across its mobile and desktop apps. With plans starting at $10.39 per month, it’s one of the most affordable virtual phone providers on the market.
magicJack for Business
magicJack is an excellent virtual phone provider with HD calling capabilities. It provides businesses with conferencing calling, call queues, voicemail transcriptions, and more. You can use magicJack over your desk phone, mobile device, or desktop.
Facebook Messenger is mainly known for instant messaging, but the app also provides HD voice calling. Since Facebook has close to 3 billion users, it’s safe to assume that many of your contacts already have Facebook Messenger installed on their mobile devices.
Skype’s been around for more than a decade as a video-calling application, but you can also use the platform to make audio-only HD calls on your mobile or desktop device.
WhatsApp is a popular international messaging app, making it a great tool for connecting with clients and team members across country borders. You can even use their free app to make HD voice and video calls.
HD-ready Cell Phone Providers
Almost all major cell phone providers offer HD voice calling. HD calls use plan minutes, not data, so it doesn’t cost anything extra for your small business to use this feature (unless you exceed your plan’s minutes). However, when you make a video call, you’ll use data to transmit the video and minutes to transmit the audio.
All of these popular cell phone providers offer HD voice calling:
- Verizon Wireless
- U.S. Cellular
HD-ready Complete Business Phone Systems
While HD voice calling is growing in prevalence among VoIP business phone systems, it’s not yet a universal feature. If sound quality is a top priority, you’ll need to research each platform’s features to ensure it provides the high definition you need. You’ll also need to double-check your office desk phones to guarantee they can support HD voice calling, and make sure your internet connection is strong enough to support multiple simultaneous HD calls.
Below are a few business phone system providers that offer HD calling:
RingCentral is a unified communications VoIP platform that provides businesses with calling, texting, faxing, team messaging, and video conferencing functionality. It uses an OPUS codec for HD voice calls to ensure clear audio for high and low bandwidth users. Plans start at $19.99 per user, per month.
Nextiva is a business VoIP phone system that offers businesses audio and video communication features. You’ll get HD voice calling on all mobile, desktop, and conference phones with HD functionality. Plans start at $18.95 per user, per month.
8×8 is an all-in-one communications platform that specializes in unlimited HD voice calls and free international calling destinations. It’s an excellent option for budget-conscious businesses that need a reliable, easy-to-use VoIP app for their business phone system. Plans start at $12 per user, per month.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is HD voice calling more expensive?
VoIP business phone systems and mobile carriers use more digital signal processing power for HD voice calling. These are additional costs which are passed on to businesses and consumers in the form of more expensive phone plans.
Can you use HD voice calling with a slow internet connection?
Yes, you can, but your performance will be impacted. HD calls made over an unreliable network lead to packet loss and connectivity issues.
Can I improve voice quality without HD voice calling?
Yes, you can. Noise-canceling headphones, quality microphones, and mobile apps can improve the voice quality of your phone calls. They’re not a complete substitute for HD calling technology, but they do help improve audio quality.
Does HD calling work on 3G?
No. HD voice calling via VoLTE technology uses 4G and 5G LTE data networks. Legacy 2G and 3G networks don’t provide sufficient bandwidth to handle HD calls.
What if only one of the two parties has HD voice calling?
Both the caller and the recipient have to use HD voice-enabled services and devices to take advantage of HD voice calling.
HD voice calling improves your phone conversations by reducing background noise and reducing lag and dropped calls. Improved conversations lead to better sales, customer service, and productivity, and these all ultimately impact your business’ bottom line.
Thanks to the evolution of VoIP technology, HD voice calling is more accessible than ever. Want to try it for yourself? Sign your business up for a 15-day free trial with RingCentral to get access to enterprise-level communication and collaboration tools at an affordable price.