Remember when VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) first hit the scene in India back in 2016? Folks were finally able to chat in crystal clear WhatsApp-quality voice on calls without having to utter “What?!” every few minutes because the other person sounded muffled. It was a major step up from the poor call quality we were used to with 3G/2G networks.
But now that 5G has landed in India and seeing as VoLTE is tied to 4G systems, tech enthusiasts are itching for a new calling standard to match the next-gen speeds. Enter Vo5G (Voice over 5G), which has already been deployed in several countries globally. In this piece, we’ll break down what exactly Vo5G is, the advantages it brings to the table compared to VoLTE, and when we can expect it to come to India.
What Is Vo5G?
Voice over 5G, also known as Voice over New Radio (VoNR), is probably the future of voice calling. This standard allows voice calls over 5G networks instead of the current standard that uses 4G. In simple terms, Vo5G takes all the improvements of 5G – speed, capacity, responsiveness – and applies them squarely to voice.
The technology isn’t just technical jargon either – it represents a shift in how mobile networks handle voice, on par with past leaps like VoLTE. As carriers around the sunset older networks like LTE, Vo5G aims to have all that infrastructure and interoperability ready well in advance.
But if you recall how long VoLTE took to catch on, it’s clear that the new standard would see a similar time to become the new norm. Many countries have yet to enjoy 5G so it could take a while before users finally get a taste of a true Vo5G call. But with countries like the US seeing some support, it’s only a matter of time before others like India catch up too.
How is VoNR better than VoLTE?
VoNR brings clear advances over VoLTE thanks to the capabilities enabled by 5G networks. With 5G’s substantially higher bandwidth and lower latency compared to 4G LTE, VoNR calls benefit in a few key areas.
First, call quality is better with VoNR. It utilises more advanced audio codecs that provide superior clarity and fidelity based on 5G’s increased data capacity. Second, call connection time should be faster with VoNR thanks to 5G’s reduced network latency. Additionally, the reliability and continuity of calls should be better under VoNR. There is lower packet loss, potentially leading to fewer voice cutouts.
Besides this, the shift to VoNR should finally end the notorious drop issues users in India often deal with when they call someone. 5G users have continued to complain about delays when they dial up someone and the phone switches from 5G to 4G to use the VoLTE standard. When VoNR catches on, 4G should go dormant on phones that support 5G (at least when the network doesn’t drop to 4G), meaning no delays or drops.
What do I need to get started with Vo5G?
Using voice calling over 5G (Vo5G) or 4G LTE (VoLTE) requires little effort on the user’s part. These technologies should work automatically if you check all the right boxes. To use Vo5G, you need three things: a phone that supports Vo5G, a carrier that offers Vo5G, and a 5G signal in your area.
To check if your phone supports Vo5G, just take a look at the settings. If your phone came out after 2022 and has 5G, chances are it can do Vo5G. Most supported phones have VoNR turned on by default, but you can double-check in your settings.
Next, you need a network provider that offers Vo5G services, and a plan that includes Vo5G calling. Not all carriers have Vo5G yet, even if they have 5G, so you should check with your carrier first. If your carrier supports Vo5G, you’re good to go. Finally, you need to be in a place where there’s 5G coverage. If you are, your phone will automatically use Vo5G for your voice calls, and you’ll enjoy a clear and smooth calling experience. That’s pretty much it.
So, when is VoNR making its way to India?
Voice over New Radio is not yet available in India. This, even as leading carriers continue rolling out 5G across major cities. There’s been no official announcement from Reliance Jio, Airtel, Vi, or any other operator about an impending VoNR launch, suggesting widespread availability is still quite far off. However, as stated above, if you recently bought a shiny new 5G smartphone, chances are high it supports VoNR and is ready to leverage the technology whenever it does go live.
Reports indicate Reliance Jio, India’s largest mobile carrier, has been testing VoNR behind the scenes. The goal is to ensure smooth interoperability between existing 4G VoLTE networks and new 5G infrastructure. This should deliver higher voice call quality and lower latency when users switch between 4G and 5G connectivity mid-call. And since VoNR is primarily designed for 5G standalone networks which Jio does operate on, they are expected to be among the first in India to fully roll out VoNR services. Competitors like Airtel and Vi will likely follow suit quickly when that happens.
The timeline for VoNR availability remains ambiguous. But regardless of when exactly it rolls out, VoNR represents the natural evolution of voice calling in the 5G era. Indian Express