Reliance Jio claims 100m users for LTE voice and video app

Indian 4G operator Reliance Jio has brought LTE-quality voice services to 100 million customers in less than six months – even to people without 4G phones.

The company, which is disrupting the whole Indian mobile market by offering free and low-rate data, is offering Jio4GVoice service through an Android app.

“Jio4GVoice allows subscribers to become a Jio customer, without the need to buy a new device,” said WIT Software, which produced the system for Reliance Jio.

The company is claiming that the app has grown to 100 million users faster than Facebook, WhatsApp or Skype reached similar numbers.

Customers can make and receive voice and video calls on the Jio network using the app – a move that is likely to drive up substantially the use of video calling in India.

It uses a platform called Rich Communication Services (RCS), originally pioneered by the mobile industry under the auspices of the GSMA as a way of allowing mobile operators to compete against over-the-top (OTT) providers such as WhatsApp. However RCS has limited success, except in South Korea where all three operators backed the technology.

“The rate of growth of subscribers of the Jio4GVoice service that we have seen in the first five months is remarkable and a testament to the innovative service that Jio is providing to the Indian market,” said Luis Silva, CEO of WIT Software.

WIT Software said: “Jio4GVoice allows subscribers to become a Jio customer without the need to buy a new device.” Subscribers need a Jio SIM card but can then download the Jio4GVoice app from Google Play store.

“Jio subscribers can make and receive voice and video calls seamlessly on the Jio network, without the requirement of an LTE-enabled device, and benefit from the high call quality that the Jio network brings,” said the Portuguese software company.

However Jio makes it clear on its website that users need an LTE phone to make full quality voice over LTE (VoLTE) calls. Users with 3G phones have to connect via a Jio Wifi router.

Mathew Oommen, Reliance Jio’s president of network, global strategy and service development, said he was “delighted with the technical excellence” of the project. It is “the largest and fastest growing RCS community in the world”, said WIT Software.