Ties up with Moscow-based SPIRIT DSP for voice and video services

Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) is planning to invest $10 billion on rolling out its 4G network across the country, a move that the company has been planning ever since its subsidiary, Infotel Broadband, won a license in 2010 to offer such services nationally.

According to a statement by one of RIL’s vendors, Moscow-based SPIRIT DSP, Reliance “intends to invest $10 billion in its LTE (4G) network and has chosen SPIRIT’s products for voice and video calls over LTE.” LTE or long term evolution is the faster version of the mobile Internet.

While the deal period and financial details were not disclosed, SPIRIT stated that Reliance would be using its software engine to provide Skype-like video and voice calling services (VVoIP) to its subscribers over its soon-to-be-launched LTE network.

“The lack of mobile devices supporting VoLTE (Voice-over-LTE) drives a growing number of carriers to implement a software-only product, which is more flexible, scalable and offers a quicker time to market,” Spirit said in a statement. No immediate comments were available from RIL officials on SPIRIT DSP’s statement.

First glimpse

This development offers the first glimpse at the scale of RIL’s 4G rollout and its intention to compete in the voice services space. Infotel, which is in the process of rolling out its network in various States such as Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, has also recently presented its plans to the Tamil Nadu State Government in a bid to launch its services here.

Also, according to the recently passed National Telecom Policy, operators are allowed to offer voice services through 4G—giving it the potential to disrupt regular voice services.

“While the number of LTE networks is growing, the quantity of mobile devices models supporting VoLTE is extremely small. LTE phones and tablets mainly support only data transmission over an LTE modem, while voice and video are going via 2G/3G network. It’s an awkward situation for mobile operators who had hoped that phone OEMs would flood the market with 4G LTE-ready phones,’” said Spirit Vice-President Alex Kravchenko.

Trial run

In October this year, Infotel had informed the Telecom Ministry that it was ready for a trial-run of a technology that would enable voice call services on its wireless broadband network. It had also approached the Department of Telecommunications for allocation of number series to test its newly developed VoLTE technology.

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