New Calling: Bringing Our World Closer Together
‘New Calling‘ is revolutionizing traditional voice call services with a rich array of high-value interactive services such as UHD voice calls and video calls, 5G VoNR UHD calls, intelligent translation, fun video calls, intelligent customer service, content sharing, remote collaboration, and more. This post examines the tech and trends behind this exciting new service.
While most people may not be currently aware of New Calling technology, industry experts and tech enthusiasts are already jumping on the bandwagon in promoting its development.
New Calling was debuted only a couple of years ago and is reshaping the landscape for both personal and business interactions as we speak.
The technology in question is based on operators’ native voice and video calls and can be expressed by the 1 platform + 3 capabilities + N services (1+3+N) formula to provide users and industry customers with futuristic video and audio calling experiences. By constructing a New Calling Platform (NCP) and Unified Media Function (UMF) on top of the underlying voice network, New Calling offers three capabilities:
- Interactive video calling
In China alone, it is estimated that 80% of mobile Internet users already use video calls, and this technology will offer users the chance to experience innovative services such as outbound video calls, real-time translation, fun video calling, and remote assistance. Combined, these will create an unlimited range of services.
Simply put, screens are shared to create barrier-free communication, enabling New Calling to traverse various industries such as finance, healthcare, education, government, logistics, TMT, and manufacturing.
In a recent success case, Huawei and China Mobile entered into a partnership in the last quarter of 2022 to launch three New Calling services covering Jiangsu province. These new services have already allowed users to explore visualized voice calling, accessible communication, and fun calling. Over the next few months, New Calling will undergo a litmus test, including considerable optimizations and innovations.
How will this alter user experience?
Without mincing my words: profoundly. These three new services alone will allow hard of hearing or visually impaired people a chance to communicate with ease. When we talk about accessibility and breaking down barriers, New Calling allows the real-time translation of sign-language, speech to text transcription, language and dialect translations, and large font options.
On the playful side, fun and visualized calling can leverage techniques such as XR, video rendering, voice, gesture and facial recognition to make traditional calls more immersive and interactive. From virtual avatars to backgrounds, to sending both voice- and gesture-controlled emojis, the sky’s the limit for users in terms of making their phone calls as imaginative as possible. And this is just the tip of the iceberg, more services will be launched as time goes by.
What can operators expect to face when adopting and implementing New Calling?
For New Calling to become a reality, an underlying robust ecosystem is required, that consists of:
- Capable chips
- Capable terminals
- Optimized network
- Mature IMS Data Channels
- Media processing
The path towards New Calling in 5G has a few mobile network migration steps, and voice services must be supported throughout this transformation. Currently, VoLTE (Voice over LTE) deployments enable an HD voice session that can be enhanced with ViLTE (Video over LTE). New Calling builds on the current VoLTE/ViLTE session by adding data channels that are synchronized with the voice and video session. For the large-scale commercialization of New Calling, IMS is selected as the preferred architecture, allowing video and voice services over 4G and 5G. This is considered the most cost-effective solution as carriers can develop new services on top of the globally available voice networks that are already established.
To support the underlying foundation of these developments, the collaboration of both chip and terminal vendors is fundamental to the production of IMS Data Channel-ready terminals. Naturally, the industry requires a more concerted approach to move forward and achieve economies of scale and consistency.
If we cast our minds back to the 2021 World 5G Convention, a New Calling work group was formally established with the sole objective of promoting the construction of a developed ecosystem for New Calling. The work group consists of over ten members, including Ericsson, China Mobile, Huawei, Vivo, Xiaomi and UNISOC. The efforts of this work group are already bearing fruit, where in the second half of 2022, several mainstream chip vendors launched chip and terminal prototypes that support data channels, and according to the pilot results from the operator, the first terminal that supports data channels is expected to be launched this year.
Value for operators in B2B & B2C scenarios
It is important to reinforce the value creation that data channel-capable terminals play for carriers. For B2B users, services such as e-signatures will help improve transaction efficiency and compliance. Whereas B2C users can enjoy a wider variety of interactive services that leads to an increase in the minutes of usage (MOU), encouraging the upgrading of packages. Screen sharing and AR annotation will refine service scenarios and boost the development of New Calling, contributing to a richer user experience and increased ARPU.
Although the coverage for 4G is approximately 80% globally, with 239 operators having already launched VoLTE networks, there still remain some who have not yet adopted this technology. Many countries have already begun the process of winding down their 2G and 3G networks, and VoLTE is becoming indispensable to operators, since it is crucial to network reputation and customer retention. In the long run, sunsetting antiquated 2G and 3G networks will reduce O&M costs, especially for operators that have fewer generations of networks to support.
The target solution for both voice and video is 5G, specifically VoNR and ViNR. Both of these technologies consist of integrated 5G RAN, 5G Core, and IMS services. Combining these technologies opens up numerous capabilities for New Calling such as superior quality video calling with zero latency, combination of live-streaming and voice services, and so on. In addition, higher codec rates can be used in New Calling over 5G without eating up a significant portion of the mobile broadband capacity. Therefore, in consideration of network upgrades, it is recommended that the New Calling solution be executed in phases.
There are of course some teething problems when migrating from 2G/3G to 4G and finally onto 5G networks. During the winding down of CS networks, services will coexist with 4G for a long period of time. Operator networks which have already reached EOX will have to reconstruct the CS network to ensure stable operations. At the same time, operators must continuously invest in VoLTE to ensure network capacity and an optimal user experience. Shortly after upgrading to VoLTE, operators will need to transition to VoNR, which raises certain issues:
Cost: Maintaining multiple networks is complex and subject to significant O&M costs, such as traditional CS, traditional VoLTE, NFV-based VoLTE and VoNR (Voice over New Radio), and fixed networks.
Complexity: The journey to 5G is complex and requires a solid strategy, where the traditional CS network evolves to VoLTE, and then from VoLTE to EPS FB and VoNR. Therefore, a converged voice solution, such as Single Voice Core (SVC), supporting 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G, and fixed-line networks can help build a simplified voice network and fast-track the phasing-out of the CS network.
SVC can help global operators construct a sound audio and video network and harness the power of video calling capabilities and IMS Data Channels, which allows operators to roll out innovative services such as New Calling.
As voice remains king, early 5G adopters will be able to take advantage of 5G-specific voice and communications services for enterprises and create additional revenue channels. SVC provides the capabilities for operators to construct a high-quality VoLTE-based audio and video network and convert video calling services into basic services. By adopting the Service Domain Centralization in IMS (SeDoC) architecture defined in 3GPP TS 23.292, an SVC network merges CS and IMS services and provides voice services for 2G, 3G, 4G, 5G and fixed-line subscribers.
From an industry-consensus point of view, major operators have already reached a decision to construct networks that can integrate voice services in one, and this single solution will allow operators to improve operational efficiencies, boost new voice services, and create value.
Considering the vast potential of New Calling, what steps should the industry take to make this technology ubiquitous?
For operators, it’s an inevitable fact that New Calling will enhance their competitiveness and a lot of groundwork is required to main stability across the network whilst rolling out new services. Therefore, an industry consensus is required when it comes to standardizing equipment. New Calling-native devices require upgraded chips and OS, which will take time. Initial feedback from our partnership with China Mobile has already shown that more developers will be required to build high-quality New Calling applications that leverage 5G, spurring on horizontal development across the mobile industry.
The development stages for new calling can be visualized in two phases. The first phase involves voice calling, fun calling, and real-time translation services, without the need for replacing terminals. For the second phase, on-screen menu, remote loss assessment and online maintenance services will be made available with the deployment of data channel terminals. Huawei is calling on industry partners and friends to promote standards across the telco industry which will create a New Calling ecosystem that will offer a futuristic mobile experience and not only diversify services for operators, but open up new revenue streams for multiple industries.
Facts & stats
- New Calling: UHD voice and video, intelligent, and interactive
- 3 important factors before launching VoLTE: 1. Device availability (terminals), 2. 4G coverage, 3. Network optimization
- 70%-80% VoLTE local market penetration allows a smoother shift to 5G
- VoLTE 46% global penetration, GSMA Intelligence predicts around 5 billion VoLTE connections by the end of 2025
- 239 CSPs have launched VoLTE
- More than 200 5G networks globally
- 620 million 5G subscriptions globally by June 2022
- 210+ CSPs have launched 5G services
- 5G Core Summit Interview with Emanuel Kolta & George Gao: GSMA intelligence and Huawei explore the development of VoLTE and New Calling
- Zhejiang Mobile and Huawei Win Best 5G Core Network Innovative Product Award
- China Mobile Empowers Closer and Effective Communication with New Calling
Disclaimer: Any views and/or opinions expressed in this post by individual authors or contributors are their personal views and/or opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views and/or opinions of Huawei Technologies.