Reliance Jio and Airtel are Rolling Out VoWiFi Across India But How Does it Differ from VoLTE

Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are two telecom opertaors which are offering VoWiFi to their customers across India

Highlights
  • VoWiFi refers to Voice Over Wi-Fi network
  • Using VoWiFi,subscribers can make calls even in absence of cellular connectivity
  • Currently, VoWiFi is limited to certain devices only

The biggest telecom operator in India right now is the Mukesh Ambani led telecom operator, Reliance Jio. The telco boasts of having the largest number of subscribers above the mark of 350 million. This means that Reliance Jio has the responsibility of bringing the latest technology to its subscribers. Bharti Airtel is the direct competing telecom operator in the industry with Reliance Jio. Now, when we are talking about network technologies, we cannot get by without talking about the latest tech which is reaching out to the users, and it is Voice over Wi-Fi or popularly known as VoWiFi. This technology is slowly being rolled out to the entirety of users, and we are getting reports from various parts of India about how people are getting to see icons on their status bars which define VoWiFi availability in their area, on their phone and on their network. However, the VoWiFi sounds similar to another technology which the consumers have been now using for a few years, which is VoLTE. It is easy for the subscribers to be confused between the two technologies, and it is a question as what are the differences between these two. We describe both of these in layman’s terms.

jio-airtel-vowifi-volte

VoWiFi and VoLTE Differences Explained

To understand why Voice over LTE or VoLTE first came into the picture, it is imperative to understand the need for it. Previously, on the 3G and 2G network, the calls used to be made on a circuit-switched (CS) network which was basically the 2G network responsible for carrying calls. However, the LTE network is a packet switching network, and as you know, packets, simply put, are nothing but data which is carried over the network. Now, with this, we can understand that VoLTE is a technology which carries calls over the packet switching, or data carrying network. Now instead of a solution which falls back to the old (circuit switching) network every time a call is made, the VoLTE network ensures that your internet is on while you are making a call.

Similarly, on these lines, the networks are now using the same technology to transmit calls over the Wi-Fi network. Because of the stability of the Wi-Fi network and the non-dependency of the networks on cellular connectivity, the VoWiFi technology allows the subscribers to make calls even when there is no cellular connectivity. Only a Wi-Fi connection is required to make calls over VoWiFi.

Airtel and Jio Leading in VoWiFi Rollout

It is worth noting that both Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio are slowly rolling out VoWiFi support for their subscribers. Currently, the rollout is happening sparingly in some places, and on a very limited number of devices. Mostly, devices like iPhones, few Samsung phones like J7, Galaxy S10 series and more have received the ability to make calls over VoWiFi network from Bharti Airtel. Also, in regions like Delhi NCR, the VoWiFi is live now from Airtel. Although, in other areas as well, Bharti Airtel is rolling out VoWiFi slowly. Initially, the subscribers who were able to see the VoWiFi logo were able to make calls over the Airtel Wi-Fi network only, but now the consumers are able to make calls through the other Wi-Fi networks as well. Similarly, Reliance Jio is also rolling out its VoWiFi service in many areas across India with limited devices on support right now.

Arpit spends his day closely following the telecom and tech industry. A music connoisseur and a night owl, he also takes a deep interest in the Indian technology start-up scene and spends rest of his time spilling poetry and stories on paper.

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