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Etihad Etisalat “Mobily” has successfully made the first 5G voice call (VoNR) in the Middle East, using 5G stand-alone (SA) network. Mobily also managed to achieve a 5G SA network capability for data services, which offers independent 5G technology without any reliance on 4G network.

“We are keen to improve Mobily's network capabilities in order to cope with the latest trends in global telecom sector, and as part of the company's vision and the Kingdom's Vision 2030 to empower digital transformation for individuals, business and government sectors,” said Alaa Malki, chief technology officer at Mobily.

“VoNR call will allow Mobily’s 5G users to make voice and video calls while on a 5G SA network without needing to fall back onto a 4G or 3G network. VoNR call has attributes such as quickest call set up time and wide range of CODECs supported, which improves the user experience while unlocking a whole new pack of opportunities for Mobily,” added Malki.

The test took place at Mobily’s office in Al-Khobar using 5G SA network and 5G capable smartphones. After conducting multiple voice calls, all key KPIs met the expected results and the voice was clear and uninterrupted during the call. This test exhibited how 5G new radio (NR) leverages the IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) to provide the best voice services (VoNR).

The deployment of 5G SA network and the voice call (VoNR) have showcased Mobily’s capabilities to utilize key cloud technologies such as service-based architecture, micro-services utilizing containers and a fully convergent core for 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G (NSA & SA) networks.

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