With Reliance Jio shaking up the market with the announcement of their 4G service, there seems to be a growing confusion among buyers regarding the technology the network will deploy. We have a small guide to help you work through the various terms such as VoLTE, LTE, 4G and the likes so that you know exactly what you’re getting into with the Reliance Jio service.
What is VoLTE?
VoLTE stands for Voice over LTE and is a new protocol for transmitting voice data over the LTE network. While 2G and 3G networks are circuit-switch based, 4G or LTE networks utilise Packet Switching. When a call is made over a 2G or a 3G network, a certain amount of network bandwidth is assigned to that call as a pipeline, which does not terminate till the call ends. On a VoLTE network, voice calls are broken up into packets of information, sent over the full data pipeline and then reconstructed at the receiver’s end. The result is that voice information can be carried over a higher bandwidth pipe, resulting in better call quality.
LTE and VoLTE is NOT the same
It is essential to understand that LTE (also referred to as 4G-LTE) is a wholly IP-based communications protocol. Existing carriers have all 2G,3G and 4G setups on their network, allowing data to go through the 4G band while pushing calls through the 2G/3G band. While LTE is the next generation data transmission protocol with higher two-way bandwidth, it is capable of only transmitting data. VoLTE is the way in which a voice call can be converted to digital packets and transmitted over the LTE network. In effect, VoLTE is a subset of the LTE technology.
Reliance Jio’s network is purely LTE, and does not have any 2G and 3G bands and as such, calls made on this network will only be VoLTE based. Therefore, in order to use the feature, you must have a handset which is VoLTE enabled. While VoLTE is baked into most of the modern Qualcomm and several Mediatek SoCs, the feature may not be enabled on the handset and can be done so by means of a software update to be pushed out by the handset manufacturer.
A phone may be able to use the LTE network, but the VoLTE feature is separate and as such, must be enabled. If you have an LTE enabled phone, you can use the data services of the Jio SIM. In order to make calls over the Reliance Jio network, you must either use the sim in a VoLTE enabled phone, or an LTE enabled phone running the JioJoin app (available only on Android phone running Version 4.0 and up).
Turning Off Data
Its probably not the best to turn off data on your cellphone if you’re on the Reliance Jio network. Since all traffic on the network is running over a data line, disabling data would effectively put the phone in the equivalent of airplane mode. It should be mentioned that Reliance has clarified that data usage towards voice calls will not be counted towards the data allotment of the monthly plans.
HD Calling is being touted as a major feature of the VoLTE saga, but there is a caveat. Calls are in HD only if the parties engaged in a phone call are both on Reliance’s Jio network The call has to originate and terminate on a VoLTE enabled handset. You can still make and receive calls from other networks, but they won’t be in the higher quality standard that you can expect from a VoLTE call.