This guest post was written by Alon Geva,Timing & Synchronization Expert, CTO Office, RAD Member of the ITU-T SG15/Q13 Sync Standardization Group

This guest post was written by Alon Geva,Timing & Synchronization Expert, CTO Office, RAD & Member of the ITU-T SG15/Q13 Sync Standardization Group

Delivering sub-microsecond time accuracy to the cellular base stations is one of the major challenges facing cellular providers as they deploy their new LTE networks. This is exacerbated by LTE-A’s stringent synchronization requirements and the growing use of small cells in 4G networks, which create unique challenges in the backhaul segment.

Before the debut of 4G, the standard way to deliver a time reference was to install a Global Navigation Satellite System, or GNSS (e.g., GPS) at every cell site. A GNSS receiver is usually referred to as a Primary Reference Time Clock (PRTC). This approach is impractical in 4G, however, given the far greater number of cell sites, the intended indoor location of part of the antennas (e.g. shopping malls), as well as the growing concern about possible jamming and spoofing. Furthermore, considerations of CapEx and OpEx render this approach highly ineffective.

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This guest blog was written by Christain Knitterscheidt, Head of Product Management at Tarantula Global

This guest blog was written by Christian Knitterscheidt, Head of Product Management at Tarantula Global

The biggest driving factor for telecom operators is the ever increasing consumer demand for and faster data speeds from their mobile devices. This expansion of mobile usage presents a major growth opportunity to achieve greater revenue for telecom operators. However, this also means finding and securing a variety of sites and installing and managing complex combinations of equipment at these mobile sites.

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What do you see as the biggest opportunities to increase revenues from LTE in 2015?

Indoor LTE, VoLTE, M2M and Enterprise.

What are the new services that you think will bring the greatest revenue increases to the operator?

Enterprise market, M2M/IoT and Location based services.

How has the customer experience on LTE improved in the last 12 months? What effect is this having on subscriber numbers?

We have migrated customers from UMTS to LTE which resulted quite some MBB traffic offload to LTE. This translates to improved experience with higher throughput, lower latency and better quality of service.

How do you think Virtualisation can improve the LTE network? Are you planning to invest in such technologies?

I see virtualization as a potential network optimization. It will not only bring financial benefits but also time to market will be greatly reduced. We are already working on incorporating this technology.

What is your opinion on 5G? Is it something you are already beginning to think about at du?

To my understanding, there’s no consensus on air interface, architecture etc. within 3GPP at this point. Different players have different approaches. Having said that, I’m looking forward to the 3GPP’s announcement on Rel13& R14 technologies within this month. As an operator, we are always up to date about the progress of 5G and work very closely with vendors to ensure we are ready for this transition.

Learn more from Du and 150+ opreator companies at this year’s LTE World Summit 2015.

Nemanja Ognjanovic, Manager of Network and Services Planning Department at Telekom Srbija

Nemanja Ognjanovic, Manager of Network and Services Planning Department at Telekom Srbija

Ahead of the LTE World Summit next month I spoke with Nemanja Ognjanovic, Manager of Network and Services Planning Department at Telekom Srbija and one of our Operator Mindshare Leaders at the show. Nemanja told me how Telekom Srbija are innovating their network to handle the increasing demand in capacity today, and as they begin the evolution towards 5G.

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Voice over LTE Is becoming a reality for most leading operators, but what is next?

Here is what Pierre-Francois, VP of Product Development from Orange say’s in an exclusive interview:

Pierre-Francois Dubois          1. As we approach commercial launch, is there any clearer idea of whether VoLTE will truly compete or just complement OTT services?

Customers expect voice to come with network access and for 800MHz frequency bands, circuit switch fall back is not always available. VoLTE solves this problem. It also provides customers with a better experience (better quality, lower call set up time, less drop calls…). We don’t plan any “commercial launch” for VoLTE as it is not a new service, but we’ll probably communicate when we’ll have enough positive customers’ feedback, as we often do when we improve the quality of our network.

On the opposite we plan a real commercial launch in each country  where VoWiFi is implemented as it solves quite an old issue for some customers who have no GSM coverage at home. We know that being able to make and receive mobile calls at home is a strong expectation and customers may switch to another MNO  who provides them with a better coverage.

As long as nearly 100% of customers expect MNOs to provide them with a native and unlimited voice service, I don’t see VoLTE and OTT services competing. Both services will coexist as people communicate more and more through different media.

  1. Can we expect to see new and innovative services built on top of plain audio VoLTE?

Once VoLTE and VoWiFi are rolled out, we’ll be able to launch Enriched Calling, leveraging our investment in RCS. VoLTE is not necessary to launch Enriched Calling as it also works on Circuit Switch, but as we want to secure a full native experience, and not only rely on apps, we decided that EC would come after VoLTE. We are also considering Video over LTE as it is well standardized.

  1. What is the future, beyond VoLTE? What are the next steps in network development?

IMS/RCS/VoLTE plus additional services like Enriched Calling will take some time to be rolled out across our footprint and interconnected between MNOs. As investments are high, our main challenge in the network, will be to identify how to deliver a roadmap, which is today clear enough, as quickly as possible while removing unnecessary costs. As we operate in AMEA, this is a critical question for some of our affiliates where ARPU is low.

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Ahead of the 5G World Summit 2015, taking place on 24-25th June in Amsterdam, Mikio Iwamura, Director NTT DoCoMo & NGMN Work Stream lead, gives us his current views on the requirements of 5G networks and the services enabled by it!

Here is what Mikio says  ““5G” seems to encompass different aspects and you will probably get ten different answers if you talk to ten different people. “5G” is a convenient term and everyone wants to talk about it, but after all, it will just be a marketing term. Companies will use the term “5G” to encompass whatever they want to call “5G” when the time comes.

I think it is about time the industry needs to define concrete terms that represent different components of “5G”. For example, 3GPP will need to define a term that represents a new radio access technology, that will potentially have access to the IMT-2020 spectrum, once approved by ITU-R. This will be a 5G equivalent of “LTE” or “E-UTRA/ E-UTRAN”. 3GPP may also need to think what they will call LTE enhancements, beyond Rel-13. Another aspect is the future core network. Including NGMN, various consortia and companies are promoting the “network slicing” concept, that brings along more cost efficient and agile ways of provisioning services with disparate requirements by use of NFV and SDN technologies. The industry will need a new name to address the system that has this capability. This will be like “EPC” or “EPS”, but I think “packet” will not be the keyword here. Something along the lines of “poly-morphic system” seems to better describe the concept.

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Guest post written by Tarek Saadi, Vice President and Head of Sales, Ericsson Region Middle East and East Africa, Ericsson

Mobile operators around the world are implementing Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks in order to support their existing 3G networks and offer uninterrupted mobile broadband services to their customers. According to Ericsson’s Mobility Report 2014 there were approximately 500 million mobile subscriptions to LTE, this is estimated to increase to 3.1 billion by 2020, globally. HSPA/GSM will continue to play an important role in providing complementary coverage in all markets, in addition to LTE which will be available in all regions.

The number of mobile subscriptions is growing globally, increasing by 6.9 billion in Q3 2014 alone, 375 million of this increase can be attributed to the Middle East (109% penetration). One of the main reasons for the rapid growth in smartphone subscriptions is that subscribers in the Middle East and Africa are exchanging their basic phones for smartphones. This is partly due to the increased availability of lower cost smartphones. At the end of 2014, mobile subscriptions in the Middle East and Africa were mainly GSM/EDGE only; however, with the rapid global growth of LTE, it is predicted that by 2020 85% of Middle East and Africa mobile subscriptions will be 3G/4G.

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This guest blog post was written by Matthew Tworney, Head of Product Marketing, IBM Now Factory, IBM

NPS (Net Promoter Score) as a concept started in 2003. It was developed by Fred Reicheld as part of Bain and Company and Sametrix, and now is a registered trademark. After initial adoption, the main reason why NPS became so important is that it has, in many studies, been directly correlated with business growth. If satisfaction among using services is improved, then revenue grows, which of course makes intuitive sense.

A key difference between Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) indexes and NPS is the way that the questions are phrased. CSAT scores tend to work on questions such as “how do you feel now about the service you just had?” This question is good for judging how satisfaction for services varies over short time periods—think of satisfaction cards in restaurants that people fill out. However, NPS bridges a gap in which NPS looks at how the subscriber feels holistically about the service. This approach is a broader metric to identify those who are happy, those who are thinking of leaving and those who may not do business with you again.

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This guest blog post was written by Kai Ojala, CTO, Anite Network Testing

The requirement for VoLTE is to offer high-quality voice calls and video calls, which as a baseline requires wide LTE coverage. LTE networks fulfill this aspect – especially lower carrier frequencies are deployed globally (e.g. 700 and 800 MHz frequency bands). Operators will benefit from customers switching to VoLTE services by harmonizing voice services and getting better capacity out of the spectrum.
Voice calls in LTE networks can be handled using Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) and Voice over LTE (VoLTE). CSFB provides a mechanism to transfer an initiated voice call to legacy circuit-switched networks. VoLTE, on the other hand, is a fully packet switched technology which uses Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies. With the SR-VCC functionality voice calls made with VoLTE can be switched over to legacy networks when the user moves out of the LTE network coverage.
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Philip Sorrells, Vice president of strategic marketing, Commscope

Philip Sorrells, Vice president of Strategic Marketing, CommScope

This Guest Post was written by Philip Sorrells, VP of Strategic Marketing, CommScope

Everybody’s talking about them, but what exactly is a small cell? In many people’s minds, a small cell is a very low power femto cell, installed in a home or office. It’s a radio device. In my mind (and in many others, too), a small cell is anything that is not a typical macro site, deployed to solve a network capacity problem.

Small cells can be indoor or outdoor. They can vary in power level. Some are carrier grade, some are for consumers. But what defines a small cell is not one of these characteristics, but rather what a small cell is trying to do-add capacity in some manner besides a standard macro site.

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This guest post was written by John Vetter, VP of Business Development, Sunsight

Directional RF antenna installations are not always dantennaone to carrier RF design specifications for azimuth, mechanical tilt and roll.  Some before/after audits have shown that as many as 40% of antennas are installed more than five degrees off target.  Using this audit data, simulations are possible with RF network propagation software and any market final design project.  These results will prove that even when using conservative misalignment changes that induced network interference can be costly to carriers specifically for newer interference prone LTE technologies.  Focusing just on carrier spectrum capital investment this number can easily become surprisingly high when considering large nationwide RF spectrum investments.   The cost of ‘wasted’ spectrum due to interference does not, but could consider additional costs of ‘unused’ BTS/RAN infrastructure, unnecessary network performance troubleshooting efforts, less the credible output from RF propagation, ACP and SON tools , and more important, the effects of poor customer data experiences  -all caused by misaligned RF antennas.

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This Guest Post was written by Art King, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies at SpiderCloud Wireless

Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

Art King, SpiderCloud Wireless, Director of Enterprise Services & Technologies

In our work with mobile operators to accelerate small cell systems inside medium to large enterprises, we have learned much over the last five years to create win-win formulas for enterprise IT and our mobile operator customers. It is hard-earned knowledge that only a seasoned executive team could have anticipated and managed by an experienced field team.

So, in the spirit of sharing our knowledge, here are “5 Small Cell System Do’s and Don’ts of Enterprise.”

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Don McCullough, Director Strategic Communications, Ericsson

Don McCullough, Director Strategic Communications, Ericsson

Ericsson made a splash at Mobile World Congress, describing and demonstrating their vision for 5G, and all the different use cases they envision for the technology.

Ahead of 5G Forum USA in Palo Alto in a couple of weeks, we had the opportunity to catch-up with Don McCullough, Director of Strategic Communications at Ericsson. During the interview, Don shared Ericsson’s work in innovating and defining the 5G landscape, their objectives and likely use cases for this next generation.

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The LTE World Series blog had the opportunity to speak with Alan Law, Chairman of the Small Cell Forum to discuss the latest SCF release, their next steps and what their key message at LTE World Summit in June will be.

For more information about LTE World Summit in Amsterdam, June 23rd-25th, please visit www.lteworldsummit.com

Manuel Vera, Senior Manager – Network (National Network Performance), Bell Mobility

Manuel Vera, Senior Manager – Network (National Network Performance), Bell Mobility

Please tell us about your role?

I am responsible for the introduction of new technology and network performance support.   I also have oversight of network performance trends and analysis.  Lastly, I develop processes to support new technologies as well as evaluate new solutions to better manage network performance.

What changes have you seen in the industry over the last 12 months?

The speed of technology turn over and adoption has changed dramatically.  It has gone from 10 Years, to 5 years, to recently a matter of 1 year. (AMPS -> CDMA -> EVDO -> 3G UMTS -> HSPA -> LTE -> LTE-A)

What are your priorities for the next year ahead?

It comes down to three key areas -small cells. continuing the ‘Speed Game’ (2xCarrier Aggregation, 3xCarrier Aggregation), and delivering connectivity and managing network performance at special events and large venues.

How can industry help overcome your current challenges?

There is a pipeline of technology that will drive network automation – Better SON features – complete dSON deployments and explore cSON systems.

In your opinion, why should medics and industry representatives attend HetNet North America in May 2015?

The event is a good way to learn about the industry and keep track of the latest trends.  I found over the years that in events such as this, we either ratify the direction we are taking or we rectify it based on our key takeaways.

For more information on HetNet North America, visit www.hetnetnorthamerica.com

The pocket sized Bolt! streams 4G to smartphones, tablets or laptops – making high speed LTE accessible on the move.

The pocket sized Bolt! streams 4G to smartphones, tablets or laptops – making high speed LTE accessible on the move.

The emerging markets of Asia (EMAP) could soon be the most important LTE markets in the World.

All eyes are on the emerging markets of Asia Pacific; countries including Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Thailand and Vietnam among others, as they begin to deploy and expand their LTE networks.

Studies show that EMAP is set to outstrip the developing markets of Asia Pacific (Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Australia) in terms of LTE subscribers by 2017, creating a tremendous opportunity for LTE players across the region. As demand grows, users will require connectivity throughout the region, meaning more complex networks, better service and competitive rates across the board. Read the rest of this entry »

José Otero, Director of Latin America & the Caribbean, 4G AMERICAS

José Otero, Director of Latin America & the Caribbean, 4G AMERICAS

Ahead of LTE Latin America 2015 in Rio de Janeiro next month, Informa’s LTE World Series team sat down with José Otero, Director of Latin America and the Caribbean at 4G Americas, to discuss the present and future of LTE in the region.

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The 5G World Alliance is partnering with Informa to promote Best Practices in Palo Alto 5G Forum USA 14-15th April 2015 and in the upcoming 5G World Summit 24-25th June, Amsterdam.

The 5G World Alliance is partnering with Informa to promote Best Practices in Palo Alto 5G Forum USA 14-15th April 2015 and in the upcoming 5G World Summit 24-25th June, Amsterdam.

The world’s first global organisation dedicated to the development and delivery of the Next Generation Worldwide Wireless Internet – known as 5G – was officially launched at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in March.

The 5G World Alliance (5GWA) is to take a holistic, integrated approach across all technologies in order to gain support for seamless worldwide networking interoperability – empowering the end user through a truly end-to-end experience.

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sunsetSpectrum, the most valuable commodity in telecoms, has always been a key discussion point across the LTE World Series as operator try to maximise its usage to deliver the required capacity to subscribers.

Numerous different techniques to maximise spectrum are currently being trialled and deployed by LTE vendors and operators, including; Carrier aggregation, LTE-U and the implementation of spectrum efficient TD-LTE networks. However, as operators begin to transfer more traffic to their LTE networks, liberalising 2G spectrum becomes a viable method of increasing capacity.

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Aslam Hasan, VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager, AT&T Mobility

Aslam Hasan, VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager, AT&T Mobility

What is the current status of VoLTE deployments globally and how do operators see this long awaited service impacting the market? To find out I spoke to LTE MENA speaker and VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager for AT&T Mobility, Aslam Hasan.

“VoLTE deployments are now picking up around the globe” he said “and South East Asia is leading the way. Countries like Korea and Japan have had VoLTE deployed for almost a year; whereas in North America all the major carriers introduced the service in summer last year. Carriers in Latin and South America are still yet to announce the introduction of the service. However, with the launch of iPhone 6 and more VoLTE devices we will be expecting more deployments this year and beyond in almost all regions.”

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Luiz Felipe Barros, Brazil Country Manager, Viber

Luiz Felipe Barros, Brazil Country Manager, Viber

Latin America is a promising market for OTTs and data consumption, but that doesn’t mean lost revenue for operators and MNOs in the region. In this exclusive interview for the LTE World Series Blog, Luiz Felipe Barros, Brazil Country Manager at Viber, tells us about the opportunities in partnership between MNOs and OTT players.

One of the featured keynote speakers at the 6th Annual LTE Latin America conference and exhibition, Luiz Felipe sat down with us to give us a quick summary of his key message eat this year’s show.

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Imran Malik, Senior Director – Enterprise Business Commercial at du

Imran Malik, Senior Director – Enterprise Business Commercial at du

MENA is a huge and extremely diverse region of 23 countries that form part of the broader EMEA categorization. In the past 10 years, economic growth in MENA has been two to five times that in Western Europe and this means the cellular-enabled devices market is poised for continued growth.

Ahead of the LTE MENA conference in Dubai this May, I caught up regional expert and speaker at this year’s conference Imran Malik, Senior Director – Enterprise Business Commercial at du, to discuss his opinions on the region’s continued growth and the new services that offer the most potential to boost operator revenues.

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Ayman ElNashar

Ayman Elnashar, Senior Director for Wireless Broadband, Terminals & Performance at du

The integrated service provider du has been selected as the Official Smart City Wi-Fi Provider in Dubai and has since been successfully expanding its Wi-Fi network to major landmarks in UAE, such as Dubai Tram [1] and Global Village [2], etc…

Ahead of the LTE MENA conference in Dubai, we spoke with Ayman Elnashar, Senior Director for Wireless Broadband, Terminals & Performance at du. Ayman will be discussing du Wireless Broadband plans in more detail at the show, but I wanted to find out how du subscribers are already getting a better service thanks to this innovation.

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James Allison - Manager of Planning  - Capitol Corridor

James Allison, Manager of Planning, Capitol Corridor

As networks spread and become more dense, consumers will expect to be connected wherever they are. Public transport has been slow to keep up with this trend, but Capitol Corridor, an intercity passenger train system that provides convenient public transport across the second-largest urban service area in the Western United States, has been one of leaders in the US, in providing WiFi on trains. We sat down with James Allison, Manager of Planning, who has lead the project to get Capitol Corridor commuters connected on their journeys.

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It’s no secret that mobile networks are under tremendous stress, and data capacity is at an all-time high. Consumers want and require constant connectivity and the standards have become very high, making operators play catch-up with the higher set of expectations from customers.

Take airport Wi-Fi as an example…just a few years ago it did not even exist, and today, customers are outraged when it is not available or it is of poor quality. The feeling has become that Wi-Fi, cellular connectivity and the ability to connect is no longer a service, but a common human right.

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