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What is VoLTE and how does Rel Jio plan to provide free calls

Chillicious Bureau

The announcement of Reliance Jio giving unlimited free domestic voice calls to any network across the country has been greeted with cheer as well as some amount of scepticism as well.

Many speculate that the data used on calls made over Jio’s Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) technology will be charged and have sought clarification on the same.

The company in a press release clarified that ‘the data used for the voice calls will also neither be charged nor deducted from the data balance of the subscriber.’

Below is an explainer that sheds more light on the VoLTE technology, and how voice calling over it will work.

Q: What is Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) technology on which Jio network is based?

A: Unlike traditional GSM technologies used by most telecom operators, which  differentiate between the way voice and data flow through their networks, VoLTE networks enable compatible mobile phones to make voice calls using data.

Put simply, the caller’s voice is converted into packets of data and is re-converted to voice before it reaches the receiver and vice-versa. Calls are made using the phone dialer as is normally done.

Q: Do all 4G phones have VoLTE and how can I find out if my phone supports it?

A: No. Not all 4G (LTE) devices have the capability to transmit voice over LTE. To find out, if your phone supports VoLTE, click here .

Q: Can I convert my non-VoLTE 4G phone into a VoLTE-enabled one?

A: While some 4G phones inherently do not have VoLTE capability due to hardware limitations, others can have VoLTE features activated through a firmware (software) update that handset-makers release from time to time. There are other, unapproved ways of activating VoLTE feature that in a compatible phone through methods such as rooting but these would typically void the warranty.

Q: Can I use my non-VoLTE 4G phone to make calls using a JIO sim?

A: Yes and no. While calls cannot be made from non-VoLTE 4G phones using the phone dialer, Reliance JIO users can download the JIO Join app to make calls.

If your phone does not support 4G at all or is not a smartphone, you cannot use the JIO sim on it.

Q: Using the JIO sim, can I call a user who is not on 4G or does not have mobile Internet on his phone? Can I call a landline phone? If the user has data connection, will he be charged for receiving the call?

A: Yes. A JIO user can make calls to all types of phones — even non data-enabled phones or landlines.

The other party does not have to pay for receiving the call.

Q: What exactly is JIO’s free call offer?

A: A Reliance JIO user will not have to pay for calls made anywhere within India for lifetime. Even on roaming.

Q: What happens if I am in an area where this is no data signal?

A: VoLTE phones can make calls even if there is no LTE/VoLTE signal on the phone as long as it catches adequate network signal. 

Q: When I make a call, will the data that is consumed be deducted from my data plan?

A: No. The company has clarified that data transmitted through voice calls will not be charged towards the user’s data plan. This means that calls made from the JIO sim are truly free.

Disclaimer: Reliance Industries, which owns Reliance Jio, also owns Network18, which publishes