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# 19388 14-Feb-2008 19:43
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Has anybody else noticed that in the past few weeks that audio quality of voice calls has detoriated hugely and that there is now a lot of echo on some calls? It almost sounds like a change to HR for all calls and somebody turned the echo canceller off..

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  # 110676 14-Feb-2008 19:47

I've noticed the echo - glad it's not just me !




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  # 110679 14-Feb-2008 19:52
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Noticed it here when I was talking to someone on VFNZ




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  # 110686 14-Feb-2008 20:12
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I have not noticed any difference on my recent calls, no echo at least, I would notice that because it really really bothers me.

Call quality has being the usual mediocre GSM quality as always.




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  # 110688 14-Feb-2008 20:20
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Not so much call quality, but my phone now has problems staying connected to the internet (particularly in CBD) :-(

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  # 110696 14-Feb-2008 20:55
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Band A 900mhz has gone to NZC



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  # 110714 14-Feb-2008 21:59
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Well it turns out VF are now using the HR codec on most 900MHz sites due to the reconfiguration of their network due to a loss of some 900MHz spectrum to NZ Communications and more importantly they are using a lot of it for their new 900MHz UMTS network. Using the HR codec results in very poor voice quality and is something I experienced a lot in London where O2 used to use it on a lot of their sites.

This explains why the call quality is really bad from GSM <-> 3G, obviously the HR <-> AMR transcoder is making a real mess of things.



GSM-HR and AMR-HR
The use half-rate codecs such as GSM Half Rate (HR) and the newer Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR-HR) version allows a carrier to increase capacity during busy hour and improve the utilization of its existing GSM infrastructure without
the need for new BTS sites and costly hardware upgrades. Half-rate codecs can also be employed locally on a call-by-call basis depending on capacity demands.
While half-rate codecs are deployed in many networks and are fully supported by the existing installed base of GSM handsets, carriers tend to use them very cautiously due to voice quality concerns. Although these codecs perform quite well in ideal clean speech conditions, they are optimized for the human voice, and as a result, degrade significantly in the presence of background noise common in busy streets, crowded places, and inside vehicles such as cars, buses, and trains. In addition, non-linear acoustic echo is often created by low-end handsets
and hands-free kits such as Bluetooth headsets. This tends to further degrade the user experience of calls using low bit-rate codecs.
As will be explained later on, GSM-HR and AMR-HR can be combined with advanced network-based voice quality enhancement solutions that include Adaptive Noise Cancellation (ANC), Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC), and Enhanced Voice Intelligibility (EVI) to mitigate the degradation in voice quality caused by the use of half-rate codecs.
Thus, advanced voice processing solutions can enable GSM carriers to maintain an acceptable voice quality also during conditions with increased use of HR and AMR-HR codecs.


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# 110717 14-Feb-2008 22:21
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HR, Yikes that's like the dark ages! You guys are lucky, I have been having some trouble even just getting calls out.
Network busy and calls just will not connect until 5 tries.

I'll get out me Motorola 3300 brick me thinks tomorrow and experience cellphones like they used to be.

Sounds of competition, Literally. :-P

(update, Planned outage until 0000, but why at 2230!)

 
 
 
 




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  # 110718 14-Feb-2008 22:25
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/me remembers the good old days when much noise was made about the EFR launch!

I wonder if forcing EFR on the phone with a * code will override the network HR? I had to hunt down my old 5110 to run Netmonitor earlier to test the HR stuff so I will have to do some more testing tomorrow.


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  # 110731 14-Feb-2008 23:23
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The signal issues I have being having here were beyond a joke tonight. I have started another thread since its not codec related.




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  # 110744 15-Feb-2008 00:18
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sbiddle: Well it turns out VF are now using the HR codec on most 900MHz sites due to the reconfiguration of their network due to a loss of some 900MHz spectrum to NZ Communications and more importantly they are using a lot of it for their new 900MHz UMTS network. Using the HR codec results in very poor voice quality

I have noticed the increased echo on calls as well.  It is very disappointing that Vodafone have seen fit to cripple their network in this way, and yet still happily charge the same exorbitant prices regardless.  I remember when I first signed up with Vodafone after leaving Telecom's 025 analogue network, and WOW, the call quality was wonderful by comparison.  Now we are being forced to take a backwards step so far as call quality is concerned.

It is not as if we as their customers have any say in the matter.  We are unable to select a higher quality codec should we so desire it.

Vodafone are cutting corners in so many areas lately:

-  Call Centre wait times are frequently very long and even if you do get through, often the CSRs cannot help
-  Texting Balance requests to 777 often doesn't work
-  Web site frequently has problems
-  Prepay Feeder was deleted from the options available via the Phone-based IVR system (blamed on billing system "upgrade")
-  Our local base station in the Bay of Islands frequently drops off the air and when I look at my phone it is displaying "No Service" then it comes back all by itself a few minutes later
-  When in Auckland last week, I had some calls go straight to Voice Mail even though I wasn't using my phone at the time
-  TXT messages from other Voda customers sometimes take several hours to appear

I cannot think of anything positive to say about Vodafone right now except for:

The new "Family" offering for $20 is quite good.  But it's limited to 4 people and our family has 5.  Why not a few more options like BestMate 1/2/3.

When I weigh all these points up, I do not believe that Vodafone deserves my support any longer.  It pains me to say that, because I have been a customer since 1998 and my experience up until a year or two ago was all good.

As soon as the first competing GSM network becomes available, I will probably say goodbye to Vodafone.  It is a real pity that Telecom don't have 900MHz GSM spectrum because it means replacing our phones.  I mentioned this possibility to my wife just now and she isn't keen at all because she HATES to change phones.  But she does agree that the reliability of our Vodafone service here is just not up to scratch.

Maybe NZ Communications will be worth a look?  I can hear Tony and others laughing already, but let's wait and see what sort of plans they have to offer.  Reliable Voice Calls and TXT are all we need.  You can keep all the 3G "Smart Phone" services; my Telecom Mobile Broadband card and Laptop make a far more versatile and usable plaform than any Smart Phone I have seen or read about.

Bring back the Vodafone of old I say.  The one that was a market leader, showing the way with innovative offerings and outstanding customer service.  It's so sad to see the demise of a company that used to be the best.  The billing system "upgrade" has not delivered any benefits to customers at all.  Quite the reverse in my view.

Anyway, rant over, I've got that off my chest now.

Thanks to anybody who bothered to read this far Smile

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  # 110750 15-Feb-2008 00:31
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I guess that they would rather people buy overpriced featurebloated 3g phones to replace their gsm handsets since that opens up more things to waste money on thru vodafone live.




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# 110850 15-Feb-2008 20:31
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I also noticed it today, while talking to a Vodafone customer. The call quality was so bad, often we where asking each other to repeat ourselves.  


When I use to use Vodafone, I never remembered it being this bad, in fact going back to grant_k, this reminds me of 025!

nzbnw










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  # 110853 15-Feb-2008 20:41
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Vodafone are rolling out AMR shortly and if they're like overseas networks doing this the phone will switch between AMR and HR AMR depending on network loads. HR AMR is a big step up from HR but it's still pretty lame when compared to EFR.

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  # 110856 15-Feb-2008 20:53
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I take back my earlier post about it being just normal mediocre GSM. I was today trying to give a password to someone over the phone and all the damn letters sounded the same. I don't remember that since my days at a helpdesk with a shoddy voip system to Australia.

At least telecom gave years of warnings that they were discontinuing their old netowrk before the coverage and capacity started to deteriorate. Vodafone just do this and hope that noone will notice.




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  # 110861 15-Feb-2008 21:10
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Maybe related/unrelated, often recently I have had good coverage but the calls simply drop off.  I can't hear the other person or they cannot hear me, then the call falls off.




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