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(Nikkei BP Group)

(No.1 High-Tech News Site in Japanese)

  • Japan’s TU-KA Cellular Group to Beef Up Voice Quality
  • March 15, 1999 (TOKYO) — The TU-KA group’s three member companies will beef up voice quality improvement efforts for their cellular phones, a group spokesman said.
    As a first step, the mobile phone companies will equip its new technology Noise Suppressor as standard with the cellular phone models they will release in and after April. A user of the new models can communicate more clearly with another party than before in a noisy environment by eliminating surrounding noises with the new technology.

    The Noise Suppressor will perceive signals with features different than human voices as noises, and eliminate such signals prior to compression. The new models can transmit more voice information than existing models, because noises are eliminated beforehand, enhancing regeneration of voices. The new technology will also allow the other party to hear voices more clearly.

    With a cellular phone, voice signals are usually compressed before being transmitted to the other party, and then get decompressed when they get to the other party’s cellular phone. However, decompressed voice signals cannot fully recover their original quality, because some information is abandoned from the original signals when compressed.

    The quality of regenerated voices largely depends on how much information is abandoned and which information is abandoned.

    TU-KA Cellular Tokyo Inc. and TU-KA Cellular Tokai Inc. will introduce the Noise Suppressor technology to their cellular phone networks as well as their cellular phones terminals. This will allow users to hear voices more clearly on the cellular phone. The two companies will improve their networks by the end of March to be ready for the release of the new models.

    TU-KA Phone Kansai Inc., the remaining firm of the three, is also considering introduction of the technology to its cellular phone networks.

    The three firms are also currently negotiating with other cellular phone companies on CODEC-through technology. CODEC-through technology omits decompression and compression processing at the base station controller and instead decompress and compress voice signals only between two cellular phones. The technology can help improve the voice quality by preventing it from being deteriorated after voice signals are through several decompressions and compressions.

    When a user transmits voice signals from a cellular phone to the other cellular phone, voice signals compressed at a cellular phone are usually decompressed at the base station controller. Thereafter, the signals are compressed again at the base station controller of the other party and decompressed again at the other party’s cellular phone.

    TU-KA Cellular Tokyo and TU-KA Cellular Tokai have already enabled for the CODEC-through technology within their respective networks and combined network. TU-KA Phone Kansai also plans to follow suit no later than the summer of 1999.

    The TU-KA group has set to improvement of the voice quality because more users are as strongly interested in voice quality as in telephone charges, size, weight and service area offered by each cellular phone company.

    In addition, the three companies are seen threatened by the release of cdmaOne, a cellular phone service slated to be launched in April nationwide, with a catch-phrase of “the best voice quality ever.” This accelerated their improvement efforts for voice quality.

    (Nikkei Communications)

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