Reliance Jio's entry into the telecom market triggered an extended price war last year which saw telecom companies slashing tariffs and data charges. Not content with its rapid ascent, the Mukesh Ambani-led Jio also offered 4G Voice over Long-Term Evolution or VoLTE, enabling users to make voice calls using data - a first in the telecom sector. On Monday, Bharti Airtel became the second operator to offer 4G VoLTE services as it launched it in Mumbai on Monday. Bharti Airtel said that there will be no additional data charges for VoLTE and calls will be billed as per existing plans or pack benefits.
Airtel, the biggest telecom operator in the country has also announced it will roll out its VoLTE service across the country by March 2018.
Airtel VoLTE will also allow customers to continue with their data sessions at 4G speed while the call is in progress. Even in the case of non-availability of 4G, Airtel VoLTE calls will automatically fall back on 3G/2G network to ensure that customers continue to stay connected at all times, Bharti Airtel said.
VoLTE enables superior call quality compared to 3G or 2G connections as far more data can be transferred over 4G than 2G or 3G. Both Jio and Airtel have said that their VoLTE customers will not be charged extra for data used in these calls.
When a call is made, 2G and 3G networks assign a certain amount of bandwidth to the call which terminates when the call ends. On a VoLTE network, voice calls are broken up into packets of information and are sent over the data pipeline without reducing bandwidth. The result is that the packets of voice data can be carried over a higher bandwidth, resulting in better call quality. Both Airtel and Jio are offering customers HD quality voice calls.
However to utilize VoLTE services it is important that your mobile phone is VoLTE enabled.