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HD Voice coming to AT&T later this year, an exec reveals

Carrier to deploy the improved voice calling feature when it begins routing voice calls over its LTE network, AllThingsD reports.

CNET/Marguerite Reardon

AT&T plans to begin deploying HD Voice's improved voice calling to customers later this year, an executive with the carrier revealed today.

The feature, which has been long touted by the wireless carriers, uses hardware and software components on both the phone and on the network to significantly enhance voice clarity while reducing background noise. The feature devotes more frequency to handle the amount of audio coming in and automatically kicks in when both handsets support it.

Speaking at the VentureBeat Mobile Summit in Sausalito, Calif., Senior VP Kris Rinne said that the carrier's support for the technology would begin later this year as it begins routing voice calls over its LTE network.

"HD Voice is part of our voice over LTE strategy," she said, according to an AllThingsD account of the discussion. The revelation confirmed a PC Mag report in January that AT&T was shooting for a launch sometime this year.

Widely available in Europe for years, wireless carriers in the U.S. have lagged behind. AT&T's announcement comes just days after T-Mobile unveiled its iPhone 5, which it touted as supporting HD Voice.

Verizon revealed earlier this year that its customers might have to wait until next year for HD Voice. The carrier plans to deploy the technology when it moves its voice service to the LTE network, which it plans to do by the end of the year or early 2014.