Recently, GlobalData and Huawei, two notable companies in the information services and technology sectors respectively, collaboratively published a white paper titled The 5G Voice Transition: Managing the Complexity on April 14, 2023. This paper talks about the challenges fronted by operators who run voice networks that utilize diverse generations of technology. It presents building a convergent voice network to solve these transition issues.
The paper furthermore highlights that the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) data channel, which supports high-value services, is the new direction for voice network development. In simpler words, the white paper discusses how to make it easier for voice networks to transition to 5G technology, and suggests using a convergent voice network approach while focusing on high-value services supported by an IMS data channel.
Voice Services Remain Vital for Mobile Operators
GlobalData conducted a survey of 50 mobile operators from around the world to understand their strategies and challenges related to voice services. Andy Hicks, who is the lead author of the white paper and a Senior Principal Analyst at GlobalData, highlighted that despite the increasing popularity of Internet-based voice and video calls, traditional voice services offered by operators are still essential in people’s everyday lives due to their reliability and stability.
The survey furthermore proclaimed that 82% of the operators surveyed believe that voice and SMS services are as essential or almost as important as data services, even in the era of 5G technology.
The survey furthermore revealed that voice traffic on most networks has stabilized or even enriched after the disruptions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic. This signifies that voice services persist to play a consequential role in telecommunications networks, and are still in high demand by consumers.
Exploring Convergent Voice Solutions for Operators in the 5G Era
As telecommunication networks develop, operators may discover themselves equipping voice services over multiple generations of technology, ranging from 2G to 5G. This can result in various challenges such as increased operational expenditures, difficulties with Voice over LTE (VoLTE) roaming, and complex network transitions.
According to the survey, 32% of operators demonstrated that they will not persist in investing in 2G and 3G networks once they reach the end phase of their lifecycle, which is an increase from 17% in 2020. As a result, these operators must analyze alternative methods to deliver traditional voice services while transitioning their users to advanced 4G as well as 5G networks.
One solution that some operators are considering is utilizing convergent voice solutions, which can enhance performance while lessening operational expenditures (OPEX). By adopting a convergent voice solution, operators can streamline VoLTE roaming, accelerate the adoption of VoLTE technology, make adequate benefits of available spectrum, and advance large-scale commercial usage of 5G technology.
In simpler terms, a convergent voice solution can assist operators to overpower the challenges associated with providing voice services over multiple generations of technology and enable them to improve their network performance while reducing costs, ultimately benefiting both operators and consumers.
New Opportunities for Service Innovation in the Voice Industry
As 5G technology becomes more widespread, operators require to explore innovative high-value services in addition to traditional voice services to induce new revenue streams. The white paper emphasizes that the latest standards defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Project have introduced a new approach for achieving this: the IP Multimedia Subsystem or IMS data channel.
This breakthrough enables users to send data simultaneously with voice, fostering interactive communication and unclosing possibilities for innovative services like 5G New Calling.
5G New Calling, made possible by the IMS data channel, offers features such as visualized voice calling, real-time translation, and fun calling, which can create distinctive and engaging user experiences. Operators can leverage the IMS data channel to develop and deliver a broader range of services, eventually improving the user experience and revitalizing voice services in the context of 5G technology.