According to a new study from ABI Research entitled “Mobile HD Voice,” about 487 million mobile subscribers will use HD-enabled handsets over upgraded networks in 2015.

Although this market is virtually nonexistent today, growth is expected to ramp up quickly in 2013, and then skyrocket starting in 2014, according to ABI.

“The upgrade to HD voice is not especially expensive,” said ABI principal analyst Fritz Jordan, in a statement. “Newer 3G networks – those deployed since about 2005-2006 – can already use the new format and require only a software update and a changeover to HD handsets. That’s why HD voice, unlike most technologies, will first find traction in developing markets: Eastern Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and Africa. In North America and Western Europe, 3G infrastructure installed earlier in the decade must be changed to a new format.”

More than 900 million VoIP users already enjoy wideband voice on Skype and other Internet applications; they will come to expect the same from their mobile services, too, according to ABI.

When it arrives, said Jordan, “Price per minute won’t go up for HD voice subscribers, but it may not erode as quickly as for subscribers to conventional services.”

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