The speed and capacity that 5G will deliver are often top of mind, but one thing that doesn’t get talked about a lot is voice service. That’s probably because 5G is going to be so much more than plain old voice.
Yet voice will continue to be an essential component of virtually all solutions, which range from telepresence to telerobotics, according to a new report by Mind Commerce. Voice over 5G, or Vo5G for short, will take advantage of Voice over New Radio (VoNR), ultimately replacing Voice over LTE (VoLTE) as the prevalent technology for voice and leading to more displacement for 3G systems, according to the firm.
VoNR infrastructure is expected to become a $13.6 billion global market by 2023, growing at CAGR 65% from 2018 to 2023. The backbone IMS infrastructure will remain a key component for 5G, and IMS gear is expected to grow at a brisk pace, the research firm said.
With 5G NR, there will be ultrahigh-definition voice and ultrahigh-definition video, which open a whole new range of options with things like telepresence, according to Gerry Christensen, founder and CEO of Mind Commerce.
“I think it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that we’re going to start to see some really interesting things like telepresence using virtual reality, telepresence using holographic calling,” he told FierceWirelessTech. Things of that nature will lead to much more immersive experiences.
The good news for carriers is that they will have an even better defense against OTT competition with Vo5G than they currently have with VoLTE and RCS alone, according to Mind Commerce. That’s because the analyst firm sees Vo5G as an essential element to virtually all next-generation apps and services going forward.
North America will be the largest overall regional Vo5G market through 2023 at $29.1 billion, growing at 70.8% CAGR. The Asia-Pacific and Europe regions will grow at 77.7% and 69.3% CAGR, respectively, through 2023, the firm predicts.
In a white paper (PDF) published in July, Huawei noted that voice/video communications services were fully considered at the beginning of 5G standardization, and by June 2018 3GPP had completed the definition of basic Vo5G functions in Release 15. In the future, 3GPP will complete the standardization of Immersive Voice and Audio Services in Release 16.