The present invention provides a novel system and a method for improving the voice quality of wireless-to-wireless calls or wireless-to-fixed terminal calls, while permitting a more efficient utilization of network resources. In a first aspect, the invention provides a communication system including a plurality of base stations connected to one another through a digital network (such as TDM, frame relay or ATM). Also, a plurality of vocoder channels, separate from the individual base stations, provide a data flow path from the base stations to wireline terminals first through the digital network via a Mobile Switching Center and finally through a landline network. In a wireless-to-wireless call, the compressed audio signal travels from one base station to another without undergoing any de-compression/compression. This avoids undesirable vocoder tandeming known to degrade voice quality. If the call is identified as being of a wireless-to-wireline terminal nature, the data is directed to a vocoder channel for decompression into PCM samples. The samples are then transmitted to the fixed terminal through the landline network. The main advantage of this network architecture is that fewer vocoders are required by comparison to prior art systems, therefore fewer costs are incurred. In addition, voice quality is improved.