Next gen cellular voice over 5G to drive infrastructure evolution for carriers along with service improvements
Initially deployed over ten years ago, carrier IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) infrastructure will see new life with Voice over 5G (Vo5G). Just as LTE relies upon IMS for support of Voice over LTE (VoLTE), so will Vo5G rely upon this equipment for next generation communications, which will include Ultra-high Definition (UHD) voice with a 5G connection.
In addition to UHD voice communications, Vo5G is also anticipated to be a key component of next generation voice-based user interfaces in support of immersive technologies and IoT enabled apps and services. Gerry Christensen, (pictured) CEO of Mind Commerce reports.
Mind Commerce sees Vo5G ultimately replacing VoLTE as a preferred method for voice communication as well as act as the input medium for a wide variety of user interfaces, many of which currently rely upon Wi-Fi.
However, carrier networks must undergo an evolution of network topology, equipment and software upgrades and integration. Most options involve evolution from VoLTE to Voice over New Radio (VoNR) as 5G will be based on new RF via millimeter wave propagation.
Core IMS infrastructure upgrades are required in several areas including Home Subscriber Server (HSS) or User Profile Server Function (UPSF), Breakout Gateway Control Function (BGCF), Media Gateway Controller Function (MGCF), and Media Resource Function (MRF). Each of these will require substantial investment. The HSS alone represents a $220 million (€194 million) market opportunity by 2023 for infrastructure vendors.
In addition, there are a few key functional elements to consider with 5G networks including the Application Function (AF), Network Slice Selection Function (NSSF), Network Repository Function (NRF), Policy Control Function (PCF), Network Exposure Function (NEF), Authentication Server Function (AUSF), Access Management Function (AMF), Session Management Function (SMF), and User Plan Function (UPF).
While many of these network elements will be absolutely essential for 5G data-only apps and services, some of them have a key role in supporting Vo5G. For example, the NEF act as a central point for service exposure and also has a role in authorising access requests that originate outside the 5G system. For example, it would be required to authorise Vo5G resources in certain use case scenarios such as a request from a Virtual Reality (VR) server connection to an end-user.
VR is one of the most important immersive technologies that Mind Commerce sees benefiting from carrier infrastructure upgrades in support of Vo5G as UDH voice will become an expected component of user extended reality sessions along with ultra-high definition video. Accordingly, communication service providers will also rely upon the NSSF to allocate appropriate resources “slices” to ensure proper quality of service for business customers and quality of experience for end-users.
This level of integration will enable improved network efficiency as well as optimised application operation and user experience. It is anticipated that carrier upgrades in support of Vo5G will also help ensure network operator differentiation as compared to OTT service providers, which remain a major concern relative to core network services.
Post Vo5G, voice will remain a critical function for carriers. However, it will diminish in importance as a stand-alone service.
The Mind Commerce report Voice over 5G (Vo5G) Market: Smart Phones, Wearable Technology, IoT, Virtual Reality, Robotics, and Teleoperation 2018 – 2023 evaluates the Vo5G market including companies, technologies, strategies, and solutions. The report assesses the market potential and outlook for many Vo5G supported applications and services including enhancements to existing solutions as well as completely new user experiences and use case scenarios. It also evaluates how 5G will support various next generation immersive apps and services such as VR. The report includes detailed Vo5G market forecasts for all major equipment, application, and industry segments for the 2018 to 2023 period.
Charts and research findings
- Carrier infrastructure in support of Vo5G will represent a $1.97 billion (€1.74 billion) market in Europe by 2023
- Vo5G enabled devices will represent a $4.36 billion (€3.85 billion) market in Europe by 2023
Europe Vo5G Ecosystem Market by Technology, Communication, Emerging Technology, and Leading Country
|Vo5G Enabled Devices||267||396||898||1677||2778||4363|
Table 35: Europe Vo5G Market by Technology 2018 – 2023
|Distributed Macrocell (5G Base Stations)||52||86||142||232||372||602|
|Small Cells (Microcell, Femtocell, and Picocell)||4.7||8||15||28||50||87|
|RRHs (Remote Radio Heads)||30||48||75||116||177||273|
|C-RAN BBUs (Baseband Units)||22||37||57||91||139||218|
|Distributed Antenna System (DAS)||9.5||16||28||49||83||140|
Distributed 5G Macrocells will represent a $602 million (€531 million) opportunity for the European market by 2023
- Supporting 5G capacity and coverage optimisation, as well as 5G mobility, distributed antenna systems will represent a $140 million (€123 million) opportunity for the European market by 2023
Table 37: Europe Vo5G Market by VoNR Infrastructure Type 2018 – 2023
The author of this blog is Gerry Christensen, CEO, Mind Commerce