Reliance Jio to offer 5G calling using own voice over new radio (VONR)

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Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has revealed that its telecom arm, Reliance Jio Infocomm, will use voice over new radio or VoNR technology to offer calling service on its 5G networks in India once spectrum is available for commercial deployment. 

Jio Platforms has developed the VoNR technology in-house which will work 4G voice calling technology or VoLTE technology. Interestingly, the telco has already replaced vendors like Nokia and Oracle to deploy its own IMS (IP Multimedia subsystem) for VoLTE in India.

RIL revealed that its VoLTE service handles more than 10 billion minutes of calls on a daily basis.

During an investor call after the Q1 earnings, RIL President Kiran Thomas said that the IMS for the 4G networks is backward compatible and will work with the 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,” he said. “And obviously we are waiting for spectrum being made available.”

He added that Jio has already replaced many 4G network components with its own solutions but didn’t specify.

Jio Platforms, which owns telecom operator Jio, has developed an end-to-end suite of 5G products and platforms, including radio and core components. The company is developing everything components in-house and said that the hardware will be made in India.

“…this entire intellectual property is owned by Jio Platforms Limited. We have an ability to offer that to our subsidiary which is Jio to launch 5G services. It is created with a carrier-grade quality of service in mind, because we have direct experience of having run these networks, and obviously we are keeping it cloud-native, so that not just in our own data centres, but we have to take the solutions outside of our data centres to serve external customers, that transition would be fairly easy,” Thomas said during the call.

Jio Platforms is developing intellectual property and “own-homegrown solutions” that will not just support its telecom arm but will also support other RIL businesses in retail, financial services, and education, healthcare, agriculture, and manufacturing sectors.

“Jio Platforms plays the role of really providing that digital solution and digital intellectual property to multiple of our operating companies including Jio,” Thomas said.

Jio Platforms also has a plan to take its technology to the global market, which means it wants to compete with traditional players like Ericsson, Nokia, Huawei, and its own partner Samsung, which is powering the telco’s 4G network in India.

“Once Jio’s 5G solution is proven at India-scale, Jio Platforms would be well-positioned to be an exporter of 5G solutions to other telecom operators globally, as a complete managed service,” RIL chairman and managing director Ambani previously said.

Jio has already informed India’s telecom department (DoT) about its plan to trial home-grown 5G technology and has sought approval. It had previously submitted separate applications for 5G field trials with Samsung, Nokia, Ericsson, Huawei, and ZTE.

 Jio’s “Made-in-India 5G solution” will be ready for trials as soon as 5G spectrum is available in the country, and can be ready for field deployment next year, the company previously said.

“…the real fulcrum of what we are trying to achieve is to develop those vertical solutions across these multiple ecosystems… develop it and stabilize it here, mature it here in India…India, we believe provides a very stringent market where we have things like the length and breadth of the country, which is a very large country, we have to be very innovative to create cost-effective solutions and business models,” Thomas said explaining the need to prove the 5G technology in India first.

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