4G services: RIL seeks approval to test voice services [Infrastructure] [Times of India]
(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) NEW DELHI: The telecom department (DoT) is set to approve Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) demand that it be allowed to test voice services on its upcoming fourth generation (4G) networks.
The DoT wing looking into this has recommended that RIL be allowed to test 10,000 connections (for 4G voice services) and the company be allotted these many mobile numbers.
It has also said that the Mukesh Ambani-promoted Infotel Broadband, the only firm that holds fourth generation airwaves on a national basis, be allowed to connect its networks with other telcos for testing purposes, implying that these 10,000 people can make and receive calls from existing mobile customers.
The Telecommunication Engineering Centre (TEC) has also suggested that testing be restricted to a geographic area at a time, and the same infrastructure be used at different circles as the testing progresses. It also wants the government to allot time period like six months for the testing purpose and added that the company must not offer commercial services during this phase.
Infotel Broadband's demands to test voice services is an indicator that the company intends to offer this facility when it launches high-end data services in the second half of 2013. Incidentally, RIL had sought permission to test voice facilities on its 4G networks despite existing regulations not allowing 4G spectrum winners to offer this service. But the new telecom policy, which is slated to come into effect from 2013, allows companies to offer all forms of communication services after migrating to a Unified Licence.
Infotel Broadband is expected to shake up the telecom market in the same way as it did about a decade ago when it rolled out low-cost mobile services.
At present, voice services are not available in the 2,300 MHz band, the frequency on which 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE) services will be offered in the country. But voice facilities are available on other 4G bands like the 700 MHz that are used in the US and Europe.
Infotel had recently informed the government that it had indigenously developed what it termed VoLTE - voice over LTE - and said a trial would be helpful in maturing this technology platform. It also said that the trials would involve RIL employees, consultants and technology partners using these services, while adding that the company would pay interconnect charges to link its network to that of other mobile phone companies for testing purposes.
ET had reported on Thursday that Infotel Broadband was partnering with Russia's Spirit DSP for software that would enable it to carry voice and video services on its LTE network. Through the software, Infotel would be able to offer a similar service to Skype.
"Reliance intends to invest $10 billion in its LTE network and has turned to Spirit's software products for voice and video calls over LTE instead of waiting for phone makers who are slow in offering handsets transmitting voice and video in 4G networks," the Russian firm had said in a statement on its website.
The Telecommunication Engineering Centre, in its report, also acknowledged that 'during testing of the new service (by RIL), there may be likelihood that new service is not part of scope of licence in which tests are being carried out. "It may also be the case that the radio spectrum used for testing may not be allowed to provide new service under test. Test calls for usage of new service may not be identified and treated for licensing, regulatory and financial perspective,' the report added. ET reviewed a copy of the TEC report.
Infotel is expected to first roll-out 4G services in Delhi and Mumbai. ET recently reported that the task of laying fibre optic cable networks had begun in these cities and added that the company had entered into contracts with Ericcson, Samsung, IBM, and Microsoft for building networks, providing security solutions and for IT integration.
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