With the advent of 5G technologies, the year of 2019 witnessed the introduction of commercial 5G networks. Leading carriers from throughout the globe are accelerating the launch of high-speed 5G data services to attract more subscribers, while voice services have remained mainstream in the 5G era.
Voice Services, Still a Rigid Demand in the 5G Era
When over the top (OTT) technology emerged years ago, rumors that voice services would soon be out of use could be heard without end. However, according to a financial report on the communications industry in H1 2019 made by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), the accumulated duration of MO calls in H1 2019 was 1,196,900,000,000 minutes, which decreased slightly by 6.8% compared to the same period last year. The decrease in the call duration tends to be stable. Additionally, the number of WeChat subscribers has becoming saturated, infrequently impacting voice services.
In the next 2 to 3 years, the decrease of voice services will slow down and stabilize. Owing to natural availability to all types of subscribers, mobile voice services are mainly used in formal and important communications as well as scenarios requiring quick connection. Different from OTT services, mobile voice services now have clear market positioning. In the 5G era, HD codec technologies and extensive communication methods have been provided to further improve voice quality and user experience. To sum up, voice services are still indispensable.
VoLTE, the Foundation of 5G Voice Services
4G mobile voice services can be implemented through Voice over LTE (VoLTE) on the IMS or through CS fallback (CSFB) to 2G or 3G networks. Stipulated in 3GPP, 5G mobile voice services can be implemented through voice over NR (VoNR) on the IMS or through EPS fallback (EPS FB) to the LTE network. During initial 5G network deployment, insufficient NR coverage makes VoNR difficult to implement. As such, VoLTE is the most suitable choice from the perspective of technical implementation. As carriers require closing 2G and 3G networks to simplify network operation, building a VoLTE network as a basic voice network has become a necessity.
Single Voice Core, a High-quality 5G-oriented Voice Service Solution
5G represents unprecedented network speeds and excellent service experience. Holding a dominant position among various 5G brands has become a top concern for carriers. The introduction of 5G technologies will make network O&M more complex. In particular, carriers face problems such as ensuring the coexistence of different radio access technologies (2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G), inconsistent service experience, and frequent handover faults.
To simplify the voice network and address such problems, Huawei has launched the Single Voice Core solution, which converges multiple voice networks and allows all types of subscribers (2G/3G/4G/5G/fixed-line) to access an agile and efficient all-in-one voice network. The Single Voice Core solution uses brand-new convergent control planes, media planes, and interworking gateways to process all voice services uniformly. Carriers can simplify their voice networks to the maximum, improve O&M efficiency, and accelerate service innovation, achieving high-quality 5G voice services.