While the 5G spectrum auction is nowhere in sight, Reliance Industries is working hard to develop its network way before others to lead the Indian market. In the latest bid, its telecom network Reliance Jio has announced that it will deploy voice over new radio or VoNR tech to offer voice services on its future 5G network in the country.
Before getting into the VoNR technology, it is important to understand that Reliance Jio is currently powering its calls through voice over long term evolution (VoLTE) system through its own IMS (iP multimedia subsystem) solution vIMS. The vIMS system has also been used for VoLTE and VoWiFi since October 2019 and manages over 10 bn of calls on a daily basis. Prior to that, the company was relying on Nokia and Oracle’s IMS system and technology to offer 4G voice services.
Reliance Industries’ president Kiran Thomas said that the IMS for 4G networks is backward compatible, meaning it will also work with 5G Network. “So instead of voice over LTE, we will have voice over new radio or VoNR, which is the 5G version, but the products that we built are backward compatible with 4G. So even as we bring in VoNR capabilities, VoLTE services will continue to run seamlessly on the same equipment. And obviously we are waiting for spectrum to be made available,” he said.
Reliance’s managing director and chairperson Mukesh Ambani, speaking at the company’s annual general meeting 2020, had announced that it has completed 5G from scratch and will start 5G trials once the spectrum is available for auction. The same week, Reliance Jio had reportedly reached out to the department of telecommunication (DoT) seeking 5G spectrums, despite there being no official announcement for a 5G spectrum auction by the Telecom Regulatory Authority Of India (TRAI).
Media reports noted that Reliance Jio has applied for 800 megahertz (MHz) spectrum each in both the millimetres — 26 gigahertz (GHz) and 24 GHz — wave mmWave band as well as 100 MHz in the 3.5 GHz band for field trials in few metro cities. Reliance’s Made-In-India 5G venture will nor only help it to take over Airtel and Vodafone among other competitors, but will also help it mark in the market.
By rolling out its 5G network officially, Reliance Jio will take on global telecom network giants such as Huawei, ZTE, Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung. While the anti-China sentiments have made life difficult for Chinese giants Huawei and ZTE, Jio could fight off European competition for 5G network infrastructure through its aggressive pricing and a huge list of backers.