Archive for June, 2013

Planning ahead for LTE from a spectrum perspective

This post is by Scott McKenzie, Director, Coleago Consulting Limited.

This post is by Scott McKenzie, Director, Coleago Consulting Limited.

With mobile data currently growing globally at anything up to 70 per cent per annum (see diagram) , operators need to get more capacity out of their networks to successfully compete in an increasingly data centric world where customer expectations are rising. In the markets where 4G mobile data has taken off rapidly, speed has generally been one of the main marketing messages used to sell the service. Low capacity will increasingly lead to a poor customer experience and create opportunities for rivals with less congested networks. As we move into the data world we therefore believe that network quality (both capacity and coverage) will remain an important differentiator for operators wanting to avoid competing on price only.

Clearly LTE (with wide carrier bandwidths) offers significant advantages versus HSPA, such as higher user data speeds and reduced latency while offering the operator much lower cost capacity and higher network efficiency. However these benefits can only be realised if the operator has the right spectrum holdings to exploit these advantages in the first place.

Although it is very situation dependent, from working on numerous LTE and spectrum projects around the world, we believe that the best way that an existing operator can ensure it has a competitive network position is to secure a small number of wide LTE carriers; fragmented holdings should be avoided wherever possible. Also a good mix of high and low band spectrum is required to ensure that there is sufficient capacity and coverage in the network. Ideally an operator should aim for at least 2x10MHz of sub 1GHz spectrum for coverage (rural and in building), while for capacity one or more carriers of 2x20MHz at higher frequencies (preferably 1800 MHz) ought to be the target. Operators need to consider if they can re-farm spectrum to get some advantage.

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017

Failure to secure the ideal spectrum holdings does not however, mean that an operator is in a hopeless position, but it will certainly make life much harder.

There are various fall back strategies that an operator can pursue to overcome fragmented holdings. First of all, LTE-Advanced technology will in the future enable spectrum holdings to be aggregated, but this is not a fix that operators can rely on in the short term given that it will take time to come to market on both the infrastructure and device side. In theory spectrum trading, swapping or sharing may be permissible in many markets but again this is not a silver bullet as spectrum trades usually involve intense negotiations between rivals who will not give anything away cheaply to help a competitor. In addition, such transactions usually need the approval of competition authorities, which can be lengthy processes with a far from guaranteed outcome. There may also be significant transaction costs – for example, any profits will be subject to capital gains taxes.

One final issue that operators need to consider carefully when determining their preferred LTE spectrum holdings, is that they should always aim to secure spectrum that is aligned with standardised regional bands. This means that, they will have access to as wide a range of devices as possible which will also be vital from a commercial point of view as many consumers make their handset choice before selecting their operator.

LTE World Summit 2013 – Day Two roundup

For an industry that can sometimes focus on the doom and gloom of issues such as lost revenue streams, the opening keynote of Day Two of the LTE World Summit 2013, from Alain Maloberti, senior vice president, network architecture & design, Orange, France, had a almost wholly positive vibe to it. The core takeaway was that LTE had, in the main, lived up to its expectations. It has been widely deployed; it offers real, tangible performance benefits and customers want it. As they say on the street, that’s a win. Naturally Maloberti picked out some issues – roaming, spectrum fragmentation, interference with TV and the need for SRVCC for VoLTE, but as he pointed out all these are being addressed.


Alain Maloberti, senior vice president, network architecture & design, Orange, France speaking on Day Two of the 2013 LTE World Summit

Following Maloberti, Samsung’s marketing director of European networks, Mark Thompson opened his speech with the quote from science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein who said that, “one man’s magic is another man’s engineering.” The implication was that Samsung’s network is ‘magical’, but his call for the creation of ‘smart networks’ comes as a welcome change from the normal industry call to avoid the baseness of becoming a mere ‘dumb pipe’. He also pointed out that Korea’s unassailable LTE technology lead ahead of Europe was actually a good thing.  It serves as a tech testing ground, so if it all goes horribly wrong over there we won’t make the same mistakes. It’s not going horribly wrong of course, and Korea is miles ahead.

To prove the point, the vice president of the network technology unit of Korea Telecom, Mr. Chang-Seok Seo, came on to go describe that carrier’s network in some detail. Carrier aggregation, heterogeneous networks, commercial femtocells, and 1000 cell virtualisation are all part of the mix. Point certainly made then.

Huawei’s Ying Weimin, president of GSM/UMTS/LTE then brought us down to earth with his assessment that, “the dream [of ubiquitous capacity] is nearly here, but performance at the cell edge is still not good enough [for video uploads]. The solution? LTE-A. It will provide 10x better performance at the cell edge, and plans are afoot for LTE-B.

The keynote sessions finished off with a traditional panel discussion with questions being fired at the panel consisting of Frank Meywerk, CTIO, T-Mobile, Netherlands; Marwan Zawaydeh, CTIO, Etisalat, UAE; Suresh Sidhu, CCOO, Celcom Axiata, Malaysia, and Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia.

The question highlights included, “Are you planning on turning off your 2G network?” The responses were all “no”, except for Etisalat’s Zawaydeh, who can’t seem to wait to get rid of 2G. on order to reduce cost and complexity on the network.

Do you expect LTE-Advanced to offer an improved experience for consumers? Two yeses, but surprisingly two said no. The reveal? LTE-A will help operators due to the cost savings gleaned from greater efficiencies of spectrum use, but Meywerk claimed that above 6Mbps consumers don’t notice the extra speed, and as such LTE-A will not bring an appreciably faster experience for 98 per cent of users.

The third highlight for me as, “Do you expect to be ready to promote your network as 5G ready in the next five years?” After the first person along the line said yes, like dominoes falling into line, the rest felt obliged to say the same – marketing madness kicking in in an instant. Here’s we go again….

Panel session with Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia; Suresh Sidhu, CCOO, Celcom Axiata, Malaysia; Frank Meywerk, CTIO, T-Mobile, Netherlands and Marwan Zawaydeh, CTIO, Etisalat, UAE.

Panel session with Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia; Suresh Sidhu, CCOO, Celcom Axiata, Malaysia; Frank Meywerk, CTIO, T-Mobile, Netherlands and Marwan Zawaydeh, CTIO, Etisalat, UAE.

Other impressions I gleaned from those I spoke to was that the show was both broader, with topics such as public safety and 5G on the agenda, and deeper, with a great number of detailed and focused tracks.

The numbers also backed up the sense of improvement, with a 30 per cent increase in attendees over the previous year. There’s no doubt that this year’s event was a wild success, with a raft of interesting speakers, broaching new topics of interest and everyone who attended came away educated and enlightened, if a little tired!

See you back next year for another successful LTE World Summit!

For those who can make it, the next event in the series is the groundbreaking LTE Africa conference, taking place on the 9th-10th July 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. Click here to download the brochure for the event.

LTE World Summit 2013 – Day One round up


Erik Hoving, chief strategy, innovation & technology Officer, KPN Group

With record numbers through the door for the first day of the ninth LTE World Summit, there was certainly a lot to take in. And as the dust settles at the end of a long day, I finally got a few moments to take stock. The big revelation of the day? For me, it wasn’t a technical specification, or a marketing nugget, it was the fact that Erik Hoving, chief strategy, innovation & technology Officer, KPN Group, does his own research. To whit, Hoving took himself onto the streets of Amsterdam, to ask passers-by if they knew what LTE meant. The shock result? Zero. Nada. No a single one. True, it probably wasn’t the most scientific of surveys – he only asked ten people – but the point stood.

And what was that point? LTE should not be about the technology, it should be about educating consumers as to what LTE can do for them and how it can make things better. (Ask not what you can do for LTE…)

Hoving told us that KPN, the host operator of the LTE World Summit had prepped its network ahead of it acquiring the LTE spectrum in the auctions last year, a possible risk, but one that enabled it to launch its LTE network just six weeks after acquiring said spectrum. A video he played us showed that it was not activated by a team of highly trained network engineers, but by the Mayor of Amsterdam who wacked a great big red button after which a big on sign appeared on a plasma display behind him. Well, seemed legit to me.

So what can we do with LTE. Hoving believes that the carriers actually shouldn’t worry themselves about it but let others take the lead – specifically children – or at least Hoving’s children who apparently, ‘get’ LTE, in a way that older folk just can’t. A next generation network for the next generation. He did stop short at suggesting that only those under 40 should be allowed to use LTE, an idea that I don’t think would go down well in the propositions department.

Other facts Hoving bestowed upon us was that most consumer interact with their smartphones a full 150 times a day, which he said represented how many times users interact with their carrier. It’s technically true, but I would argue that the consumer doesn’t see it that way – it’s interacting with the content he or she wants and not the operator. Indeed, should the operator not just get out of the way?

skt_statsIn terms of advanced LTE deployments it doesn’t get much more impressive that SKT. Dr. Jae W. Byun, CTO of SK Telecom revealed that since its launch in 2011 it has made great strides and by 2015 expects to have 19 million LTE subscribers (73 per cent of its market). The short term good news is that the ARPU from LTE is 28 per cent more than from 3G users, a great example of LTE being self-monetising. Dr Byun noted that launching LTE had also had a positive impact on its competitors market share and increased their ARPU as well, though SKT was able to retain its dominant position. As you would expect average download speeds on SKT’s LTE network far exceed that of 3G (27Mbps vs. 4.2Mbps). Surprisingly though average data usage is only double (2.1GB vs. 1.1GBs).

Dr. Jae W. Byun, CTO of SK Telecom

In contrast to Hoving’s assertion that operators should not bother offering services, Dr Byun said that SKT has successfully offered two – a service that delivers video highlights of baseball games, and T-Premier TV highlights package. And thanks to its near ubiquitous LTE layer, it offer VoLTE as standard. He also showed his secretary using Joyn services, and converting an HD voice call into a video call. In many senses, it’s a glimpse of European networks of the (hopefully near) future.

Following his speech Dr Byun joined a panel discussion with Andreas Lieber, Head of Mobile Business Development & Partnerships, Groupon, USA; Iain Dendle, Business Development Director, Shazam, UK; Roxanna Zea, CSO, Tele2, Sweden, and Jonathan Alferness, Director of Product Management, Mobile Ads Lead, Google, USA.

Google’s Alferness revealed that because of the speed and ubiquity of LTE, if someone at Google checks the accounts they’ll notice a huge bill for their LTE service, built into his Google Chromebook. “LTE is transformational – I don’t turn on Wi-Fi,” he said.

GroupOn’s Leiber said that despite the perception that OTTs have it all worked out, digital innovators do want to work with operators. “Partnerships make sense,” he said and listed three reasons why it talks to operators, “distribution, revenue and promotion.”



Operators also enables it to reach customers that it would not otherwise be able to through integration with carrier billing, to access those who would otherwise not trust giving out their credit card details.

Shazam’s Iain Dendle said something similar, while it gets two million new users from the App store, it needs operators to further expand its reach, while the benefits for the operators is that they get to offer, “a magical service’ that ‘encourages usage of the network’.

Interestingly Dr Byun revealed that while Apple and Google dominate in consumer apps, it sees an opportunity to compete by offering something similar for the enterprise markets. Leiber backed this up by saying that operators should offer services where they can innovate, such as O2’s successful live music offering in the UK, but should not do so if they are just looking to copy.

Informa’s chief research analyst Mark Newman and Vodafone Netherlands CEO, Rob Shuter

Informa’s chief research analyst Mark Newman and Vodafone Netherlands CEO, Rob Shuter

The morning’s presentations were finished off with a ‘fireside chat’ (no actual fire allowed –  Health & Safety), between Informa’s chief research analyst Mark Newman and Vodafone Netherlands CEO, Rob Shuter). Shuter said that despite the maturity of the market there was plenty of room for growth in the market with a relatively low usage of data at an average of just 500MB a month. As for future pricing, he said it was likely that voice and SMS would be unlimited, with just data metered. It would not just be about bundle capacity though, with innovations such as QoS allowing for more pricing variations.

While there were many tracks and sessions throughout the day one of the most popular was the 5G innovation masterclass, which saw standing room only for the talk, which looked at how the network might look in 2020. At least no one can say the LTE World Summit is not forward looking!

Check back tomorrow for a run-down of the keynote highlights of Day Two, which if it’s anything like today will be bustling, busy and essential.

The Big Gear You Are Missing in the Big Data Conundrum: Real-Time Intelligence

Broken Machine - One Gear Falls OutLadies and gentlemen, its time to revamp your engines!

Are your traditional tools hindering your ability to grow in the telecom industry?

Ask yourself this, are your vendors meeting your criteria with the evolving needs of this Big Data world?

There are solutions out there that are already addressing the pains associated with Big Data. We believe you need to demand, embrace, and seek this new innovation! Don’t fall victim to being stuck in the now, focus on the new paradigm and future of the telecom industry.

Big Data in telecom should not be a nightmare. It’s an opportunity! For any type of industry, the need for growth and evolution is embraced and expected.  Learn how you can embrace a new paradigm and gear up to capture and manage this new, real-time opportunity.

The Race is On

It is universally understood that the nature of the mobile world today is far unsurpassed than what anyone had originally anticipated. Smart devices are released, revamped, and released again all while the OTT providers are quietly and quickly entering the market with their fast attention, adoption, market share, agility, customer focus, and degree of innovation; Smart devices are a vital part of daily life.

With rapid growth, comes a bottleneck situation, which we all know as the Big Data problem. Issues have risen such as: declining revenues, increasing churn, customer dissatisfaction, and a need for future consolidation.

If you sit back and wait, the evolving technologies will surpass you, and there will be no opportunity for a comeback. Room for improvement lies within increased innovation and customer experience all while drastically reducing the cost.

Stuck in Neutral

The leading CSPs have already realised what lies ahead and have begun investing in and adapting to the growing technology of LTE, SON, SDN, CEM, policy management, and more. These enabling technologies will unquestionably deliver significant benefits and facilitate a whole new set of opportunities. LTE in particular has a major discontinuity and a departure from the traditional way of doing things. LTE drives telecom to merge with IT and as a result, IT principles start to be applied to telecom.

Truth be told, CSPs have at best, barely scratched the surface of the full potential of these enabling technologies. The question is ‘why’. What impedes this? The vast majority recognise the challenge, but steer towards business as usual because vendors are not providing alternative paths.

Real-Time Intelligence is Key

There needs to be a fundamental shift of the current culture of CSPs.  We believe that CSPs need to develop the ability to gain access to actionable insights in true real-time, at a much lower cost, more easily, and in a way that leverages the broad variety and increasing amount of continuously-changing data that they have available.

As L. Gordon Crovitz said in a recent Wall Street Journal article in reference to Big Data, “society will need to shed some of its obsessions for causality in exchange for simple correlation: not knowing why but only what.” In other words, it’s less about explaining the science behind the observed data, it’s about quickly identifying patterns and events that, statistically, are significantly relevant.

To combat the Big Data issue, having both the “why” and the “what” is necessary in order to quickly adapt to and benefit from the innovation and convergence of LTE, SDN, SON, and policy management.

In this new, real-time Big Data world, intelligence becomes history within seconds and history is practically irrelevant. The ability to “see” and “understand” what happens “now” becomes paramount.

Revamp the Engines

There are vendors, such as Trendium, that are ready to enable the transformation of these new innovations for CSPs. Together, we have the potential to create scalable, efficient, real time intelligence for Customer Experience Assurance and Asset Monetisation.

When making your decision to select your future real-time intelligence partners and solutions, ask yourself, do they meet the criteria for:

–          cost

–          real-time analysis capabilities and in-memory computing

–          scalability and distributed computing

–          ability to deal with structured and unstructured data

–          ability to deal with large variety of data

–          proven ability to integrate data from existing and third-party sources

–          ability to quickly adapt to changing data structures

–          ability and willingness to feed real-time intelligence to third-party applications

–          advanced root-cause analysis capabilities

–          visualisation effectiveness and flexibility

CSPs that have, rightfully so, identified customer experience assurance and asset monetisation as their top priorities, need to know that in this new Big Data world it is possible, financially and technically, to gain real-time access to actionable intelligence and insights about network, services, and customers, in a way that is scalable, improves productivity, and with a fraction of the complexity, footprint, and cost of traditional solutions.

Trendium are sponsors of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event

Big-Picture Thinking and Big Data: Growing LTE Revenue in the Face of Shrinking Margins


The financial landscape for communications service providers (CSPs) this year remains rocky. Profits are continuing to fall, with major players such as Telefonica, DTAG, and Vodafone reporting significant drops in revenue: the Vodafone group recently reported a full 90 per cent year-on-year drop. Margins are continually squeezed, competition from OTT players like Google and Apple is fierce, and CSPs must now build out next-generation LTE networks to meet the demand for mobile data services.

Operators are making inroads in cost reduction, but savings are not enough. It’s clear that current business models need to be transformed, focusing on new ways to deliver innovative services and drive revenues.

At The Now Factory, we’re seeing a trend around LTE encompassing both cost reduction and revenue generation. Operators are consolidating their network monitoring and CEM systems under one platform – Customer-Centric Network Monitoring to drive greater cost-efficiencies, while building analytics on top to extract greater value: finding that new LTE revenue.

The flood of rich data available to operators is a deep vein of potential profit for CSPs. The exploration and monetisation of this information is driving the most exciting innovations in the sector. Big Data can’t be ignored, and fortune favours the bold. Today, we work with a host of CSPs who use the power of our analytics platform to find new LTE revenue sources around:

• Machine to Machine (M2M) services

• More flexible pricing models

• Mobile advertising

• Market research

To learn more about how we can help CSPs profit from the migration to LTE, please contact the Now Factory

We will be at the upcoming LTE World Summit in Amsterdam from June 24-26 and would welcome an opportunity to meet with you if you will be attending.

LTE Means Rethinking Security in the All-IP World

This is a guest post by Frank Yue, technical marketing manager for the Service Provider vertical at F5 Networks.

This is a guest post by Frank Yue, technical marketing manager for the Service Provider vertical at F5 Networks.

As communications service providers (CSPs) continue to build and deploy 4G LTE networks, they are finding that they need to understand some critical concepts as they move from circuit switched 2G and 3G networks to all IP packet switched networks.  Of these, IP security rides high on that list of technologies to master. The Internet has become an open environment susceptible to malicious activity. If your assets are not secured, you are guaranteed to be attacked and compromised by one or more unscrupulous organisations. 

They may do it for financial gain, selling the stolen data to parties, as a paid service, for your competitors to disrupt your business, or even just for personal enjoyment because they found that they could compromise your infrastructure. We may not use resources such as the M61 Vulcan shown in the picture, it is important to develop and implement the proper security tools to protect the latest wireless networks.

Growth in the Data Plane

While many CSPs already have solutions in place to protect parts of the packet data network (PDN) infrastructure, they often do not understand how the implementation of a 4G LTE network architecture changes the security requirements. The S/Gi interface, or the part of the network connecting the mobile subscribers to the Internet will have a significant increase in data volumes as more LTE enabled mobile devices are used. In addition, with the increased speeds available, we expect to see 4G wireless technologies competing with fixed-line data services such as DSL and cable. This will change the type of content seen and the mobile CSP will need to develop enhanced policies to manage and secure these services.


Another concern is that LTE expects the mobile devices to be IPv6 enabled, while much of the PDN is still expected to be using IPv4 technologies for some time.  This requires the ability to translate IPv6 addresses to IPv4 addresses using a carrier-grade NAT (CGNAT) technology, while maintaining a proper security infrastructure. This includes the ability to protect the pool of IPv4 addresses being used in the CGNAT solution and all of the devices’ communications being translated.

Packets in the Control Plane

More significantly, the control plane of the LTE network will change from a circuit-switched network to an IP-based architecture.  Diameter, SIP and DNS are the primary protocols that will be used to manage the control plane as the CSPs start implementing voice over LTE (VoLTE).  Securing and managing this infrastructure will be critical to the services delivered to the subscribers and protecting their privacy.  The Home Subscriber Service (HSS) and Policy Charging and Rules Function (PCRF) depend on Diameter, an open standardised protocol used on IP networks, while the Call Session and Control Function (CSCF) systems and Application Servers (AS) within the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) utilise another public standardised communication technology called Session Initiation Protocol (SIP).


Figure 1. The complexity of the IMS network architecture

It is important to note that third-party applications developed by independent people in addition to the subscribers and their LTE device will have direct access to the IMS network components through the SIP protocol. This means that potential malicious or poor programming will have the ability to directly affect and access the control plane of the LTE network and be able to disrupt it or obtain unauthorised access to private information such as subscriber profiles, unless proper security measures are put in place.

The CSPs need to understand the implications of migrating to an IP network infrastructure and how the packet-based network must be managed significantly differently from the legacy circuit-switched environment. Proper planning and testing is required to successfully build a robust and secure 4G LTE network. It is important to leverage the existing work done on IP networks over the past 20 years, utilise the knowledge of your colleagues and vendors. Apply the proper availability and security practices learned from these resources to design the next generation wireless networks.

To speak with F5 look out for them on the exhibition floor at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

F5 have been nominated in the Best LTE Core Network Element category at the LTE Awards 2013, taking place at the 25 June 2013, De Duif, Amsterdam, Netherlands. 

LTE business manager, Astellia: “LTE expectations in terms of throughput and quality are very high.”

Astellia-ManagerAstellia are a sponsor partner of the LTE World Summit, taking place on June 24th-26th 2013, at the RAI Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to Thierry Jacq, LTE business manager to find out more about why network monitoring is so important and how it has evolved in recent years.

Why is mobile network monitoring important for operators?

Probe-based network monitoring is the only way to efficiently obtain comprehensive data on the quality experienced by subscribers on mobile networks. The collected data gives deep insight in network elements performance, handset behavior, services and applications usage and group of subscriber’s behavior such as corporate fleets that require particular quality grades based on service level agreements (SLA).

Probe-based network monitoring tools are the key source of network vendor independent KPIs necessary to benchmark equipment vendors and to evaluate the customer experience.  These tools are invaluable to operators as they are an effective way to identify and troubleshoot poor network quality and misbehaving smartphones that are not in line with 3GPP specifications. This helps to preempt customer complaints and to lower churn.

How have monitoring tools evolved over recent years?

More than 10 years ago Astellia’s Ocean probe represented the beginning of the network probing revolution. In a market where probes were complicated protocols analysers dedicated to troubleshooting, Astellia’s product offered a QoS KPI generator, changing every subscriber into a drive-tester.  Today Astellia takes it some steps further: driving the customer experience through customer analytics. Customer experience management (CEM) is becoming fundamental for mobile operators to differentiate themselves and to succeed. To drive customer experience, operators need to have a 360° visibility into customer’s usage behavior, the network both RAN and Core, and the handset. Therefore, mobile operators need probe-based monitoring solutions which can detect, analyse, correlate, report and troubleshoot issues which are linked to network efficiency, QoE, roaming, handset performance and application usage.

What differentiates one monitoring tool from another? What should a carrier’s CTO look for?

The first thing would be end-to-end monitoring. A mobile network is a set of interworking network elements and as such it is crucial to monitor the network from core to the radio access (RAN) part in order to detect any weak link. Most quality degradations are coming from the RAN, so unique RAN expertise is something CTOs should look for. CTOs should also pay attention to the tools’ capturing and processing capacity. Data is still surging in mobile networks and probes have to be ready to deal with this amount of data.  Data content awareness is another important element. Awareness of the most used services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and traffic generated by OTT applications (Skype, Whatsapp, etc) is key to be able to optimise a mobile network where, by definition, capacity is limited.

What are the particular challenges that LTE brings that differ from 2G and 3G networks?

LTE’s expectations in terms of throughput and quality are very high. This new technology has been deployed very quickly compared to 2G and 3G, and the integration and the ‘user friendly phase’ have been shortened considerably. As such, operators are under financial pressure to monetise LTE very quickly. LTE introduces a new network layer and new vendors that have to interoperate correctly. This challenge is complicated by the fact that LTE is a pure data network: if you receive a voice call your smartphone has to fall back to 3G layer before taking the call. In order to provide high-quality network services to an increased volume of consumers, mobile network monitoring and optimization is key.

What’s the link between network monitoring and customer retention?

Customer retention is a multi-faceted challenge that encompasses all interactions between the subscriber and his service provider. Probe-based network monitoring brings operators the assurance to quickly detect and fix the root cause of dissatisfaction in a proactive way, hereby providing reliable services to an ever more demanding customer base. Customer Care agents for instance can get a detailed overview of the subscriber activity and identify issues encountered by the subscriber as well as the cause of the problem. Thanks to these probe-based data, they can improve first call resolution time and reduce significantly the number of trouble tickets sent to level 2 teams. Furthermore, collecting and analysing data about customer usage enables the marketing department to propose services and data plans adapted to the subscriber needs, thus increasing satisfaction and ARPU.

Meet Thierry Jacq during the LTE World Summit on Tuesday June 25th at 15h00 on Track 4 where he will be presenting Big data analytics: ‘Extract network and customer insight from Big data – Turn it into action’.

Astellia are nominated for the Best Test/Measurement LTE Product, at the LTE Awards, taking place  at the LTE Awards 2013, taking place at the 25 June 2013, De Duif, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Diameter Signaling: Change Determines Survival

This post is by MK Chang, vice president, product marketing for Aicent.

This post is by MK Chang, vice president, product marketing for Aicent.

The promise of 4G LTE and its native IP packet based technology is quickly proving its value on the world telecom stage. The number of LTE network installations on a global level helps support this claim with over 400 operators in over 124 countries investing in LTE according to GSA and up to 175 networks already commercial. This is also apparent in the rising number of greenfield opportunities for data service providers helping drive growth with new services through innovative business models.

All these influence the momentum behind the explosive interest and growth of LTE networks, which in turns gives rise to the evolution of Diameter signaling and may eventually take over the critical importance of SS7 in the signaling world.


With the exponential growth of data, the mobile industry has been guardedly awaiting the impending data surge that is building from the increased adoption and expansion of data devices. The result, is the expectation for the Diameter signaling market to double this year (2013), with revenue from signaling controllers jumping to well over 900% from 2012 to 2011, according to Infonetics.

This push into Diameter signaling comes at a cost, and that cost is to the more outmoded and aging SS7 network, lessening its importance and creating a tremendous amount of turbulence in the traditional telecom wholesale world – where change determines survival.

So what are the impending factors that will impact SS7 and continue to drive the development and expansion of Diameter Signaling?

  • Improved Scalability and Management

Newer technologies, such as Diameter, are able to handle higher volumes (data) with the same or smaller physical footprint. The Diameter infrastructure simplifies network management through a singular centralised signaling architecture reducing costs (Opex) and the complexity of the core network, while allowing the network to grow incrementally to support an expanding base of data hungry mobile subscribers.

  • Long-Term Consumption

As subscriber adoption and penetration eventually levels off and starts to decline as a result of the rapid shift by global operators to LTE networks, 3G traffic will become relatively flat. This will have direct implications on operator demand for SS7 signaling services, which will gradually decelerate, equating to a decreased demand for SS7 supporting equipment.

  • VoLTE

Over the coming years, improved services, reduced capital, and operating expenses will drive operators to minimise their support for SS7 signaling at the core, as it is replaced with new and advanced services such as VoLTE, that benefit from Diameter’s ability to handle an all-IP network landscape. This transition will only quicken as IP to IP calling becomes more mainstream.

  • Competitive Landscape

The increasingly competitive telecom services market, drives carriers to focus more attention on subscriber retention by raising customer service levels and injecting new and updated services in order to build strong customer satisfaction, support, and retention (lowering churn), all while reducing costs. The injection of new services is an opportunity to offer differentiated services that increase customer spending, while improving customer satisfaction.

  • Role Of The Wholesaler

LTE roaming is predicated on the existence of an IPX. As Diameter signaling volume grows, operators may be increasingly encouraged to use the IPX as a direct bilateral method for services like inter-carrier voice as well as SS7 signaling. This might translate into a diminished role for the international carrier acting as a wholesale agent between carriers. Certainly, the overall signaling and voice market will be big enough to sustain both IPX and wholesale players, yet there is no doubt of the increasing pressure on these international wholesalers to change in order to survive. Consolidation of the wholesale international market may be an eventuality.

There is no question, the SS7 network infrastructure will continue to exist in the near term for several reasons. One being the investment costs associated with equipment and the other is supporting a legacy mobile market that despite quickly redirecting its attention to LTE (probably the fastest adoption of a new technology in mobile’s short history) will still need to support existing users while the industry transitions over the next 5 to 10 years. This is also the case for operators within countries that are just at the cusp of transitioning from 2G to 3G services and will maintain this model for some time. The future trend will continue to focus on 4G LTE networks supporting the dynamic growth of data centric devices.

To talk further with Aicent, head down to Pod 10 on the exhibition floor of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Aicent are also nominees for the Best LTE Roaming Product or Service at the LTE Awards 2013, taking place at the 25 June 2013, De Duif, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Maximising the ROI of LTE and Small Cells

Astrid Wastegård, product marketing manager, InfoVista

Astrid Wastegård, product marketing manager, InfoVista

The LTE market is progressing quickly, bringing new technology – and terminology – to our industry every day. Rapid adoption of data-hungry devices has driven LTE growth, and we are now seeing the quickest uptake ever of a new mobile system technology. Already, 424 operators in 126 countries are investing in LTE, according to GSA’s Evolution to LTE Report from May 2013. LTE will, in most cases, be part of heterogeneous networks (HetNets) that also utilize 2G and 3G as well as small cells and Wi-Fi offloading. Operators will need to evaluate their specific constraints regarding all of these technologies to define a deployment strategy around LTE and small cells.

Network design and optimisation solutions, such as InfoVista’s Mentum Planet, will play a strategic role in defining and executing these deployments and improving operators’ ROI on LTE and small cells. In particular, operators need to consider these aspects when defining a deployment strategy:

  • Optimising the current wireless network will take away a lot of guess work. The optimal locations and configurations of LTE and small cells depend on the current network’s coverage and capacity.
  • Which areas have the most intense traffic loads? Be sure to evaluate wireless traffic demand per city or area and predict its growth. The densest areas are where LTE and small cells will be viable options.
  • Evaluate spectral efficiency maps for different technologies and frequencies to find the optimal use of available frequencies. Perhaps a portion of the GSM frequency can be re-farmed for LTE? Availability of user devices is an important aspect of the frequency deployment strategy.
  • Define the optimal mix of cellular and backhaul technologies and equipment for a given network.

Once the overall network strategy has been determined and the frequency resources have been secured, the actual network design and optimisation work can begin. This process consists of six key steps:

1)      Optimise the macro-network layer with a multi-technology automatic cell planning (ACP) tool with optimisation targets based on spectral efficiency goals.

2)      Create a 3D traffic map based on current traffic per cell, geo-localised measurements, high resolution geo-data for accurate traffic spreading in 3D, traffic load scaling and social media information.

3)      Evaluate where LTE and small cells will be most beneficial in both capturing traffic themselves and offloading traffic from the macro-layer to free up resources.

4)      Select potential LTE and small cell site locations based on backhaul criteria to ease the implementation, especially if there are a lot of sites.

5)      Determine LTE and small cell placements and configurations with an ACP that optimises spectral efficiency to maximise the capacity gain in the network. The ACP will select site locations and optimise the number of cells and their configurations.

6)      Verify the capacity and coverage improvements, both outdoor and indoor, with network analyses and Monte Carlo simulations.

By performing these steps, the ROI of LTE and small cell deployments can be greatly optimised. A pre-requisite to this process is a network design and optimisation solution that efficiently supports these steps and evolves with new technology advancements.

InfoVista will be at Stand 51 on the exhibition floor of the taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

CEO, Ulusnet, Mongolia: “This event gives us a unique opportunity to see where the telecoms world is moving to.”

Byambaa Davaakhuu, CEO, Ulusnet, Mongolia

Byambaa Davaakhuu, CEO, Ulusnet, Mongolia

Byambaa Davaakhuu, CEO, Ulusnet, Mongolia is discussing the challenges of migrating from WiMAX to LTE on Day Two of the LTE World Summit taking place on 24th-26th June at the Rai, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to him about what Ulusnet is working on with regard to LTE.

Please give me an update on where you are with your plans to move from WiMAX to LTE.

We are currently at the vendor selection part of the process and technically we are working on RF spectrum relocation. The co-existence of WiMAX and TD-LTE subscribers is going to be a challenge for us and we want to be sure to get it right.

How does your background in WiMAX affect your spectrum choices for LTE?

As a WiMAX operator we have 20Mhz at 2.5GHz and 50MHz at 3.5GHz, so we are well served there. The government not yet made a decision regarding the use of FDD LTE spectrum but probably 1800MHz will be assigned.

What impact do you think moving from WiMAX to LTE will have on your backhaul infrastructure?

As a subsidiary of a cellular operator the majority of sites have optical transmission for backhaul, which gives us great advantage on the market.

What do you think will be the most exciting development in LTE in 2013?

The most exciting developments will be the development of the eco-system for TD-LTE and use increased data throughput the use of LTE will bring.

Why is the LTE World Summit an important event for you to attend?

This event gives us a unique opportunity to see where the telecoms world is moving to and that’s why we need to be there.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

LTE program director, KPN, Netherlands: “We are very interested in the possibilities that will become available with e-MBMS or LTE Broadcast.”

Erik Vercouteren, program director LTE Program, KPN

Erik Vercouteren, program director LTE Program, KPN

Erik Vercouteren, program director LTE Program, KPN, Netherlands is speaking as part of the LTE MasterClass on Day One of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry,  taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to him about KPN’s LTE roll-out strategy in the Netherlands.

What are the chief challenges you are facing as you roll out LTE?

Rolling out 4G in a densely-populated country like The Netherlands is a challenge, as it is a complex exercise to align building permits, transmission upgrades, antenna swaps and hardware replacements. But we are doing very well, I must say – reaching up to 50 per cent population coverage in about five months.

What’s your strategy around pricing LTE and why have you made those choices?

We have launched 4G as an integrated part of our portfolio, so there’s no ‘premium’ for LTE itself. Initially, we introduced 4G on the larger data bundles and as of the 1st of July, we will integrate 4G into all data bundles in our new “all-in-one” line-up. We believe that 4G is a major improvement to the user experience on mobile data and want to make this available to all our customers as soon as possible.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Yes, we launched in urban areas covering Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht as soon as possible. But we also cover all the smaller cities and towns in between – and will cover rural areas as we continue our roll-out through the rest of the year. We believe that 4G should be available everywhere – that’s why we roll the 4G service out like an “oil stain” covering the entire country, rather than building coverage in busy hot spots only. If you really want to enjoy the benefits of 4G, it should be available in the entire country – in urban and rural areas!

How optimistic are you about the impact that RCS services might have for your customers?

We are closely following this to see how this could be of additional value to our customers. But our priority at this moment is to build nation-wide coverage on 4G in The Netherlands.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

The experiences with the first VoLTE implementations will be very exciting. And we are very interested in the possibilities that will become available with e-MBMS or LTE Broadcast.

Why is the LTE World Summit such an important event to attend?

This is the event to meet up with professionals that are working on LTE worldwide and the place to share experiences and learn from each other. KPN is again very proud to host the LTE World Summit in the capital of The Netherlands, the beautiful city of Amsterdam. And especially since this is the city where we launched our 4G services earlier this year!

IP architect at Telefonica UK: “There will be organisational challenges as teams that previously worked separately are brought together in an IP-centric world.”

Andrew Davies, IP architect at Telefonica UK

Andrew Davies, IP architect at Telefonica UK

Andrew Davies, IP architect at Telefonica UK, is speaking on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out what’s pressing most in his mind in terms of upcoming IP challenges.

What were the main technical challenges you face as you look to move from 2G/3G to 4G LTE?

As an IP Architect, from my perspective the issues are around the IP Infrastructure. The main concerns are how we can build sufficient capacity into the network. We are moving towards latest technology, such as 100Gbps, and in subsequent years, bundles of 100Gbps or alternatives. We need to build an IP infrastructure that supports potentially incompatible goals of both low latency for the user plane and physically separate paths for signalling traffic. We also need to secure our core IP infrastructure against as yet unknown threats from the all-IP enabled backhaul. The implementation of a shared LTE infrastructure with our partner operator Vodafone will also through up new challenges to us and our vendors. Finally, there will be organisational challenges as teams that previously worked separately are brought together as Radio, Access and Core collapse into one in an IP-centric world.

You’ve recently announced BT as your backhaul provider – what impact do you think LTE will have on your backhaul in the first six months after launch and then a year after launch?

The BT service gives us greater flexibility and resilience and for the first time will bring offer high availability, extending across the aggregation backhaul. We expect significant growth in our mobile backhaul, with it approximately doubling each year.

Is VoLTE on the roadmap, and what are the challenges in implementing it?

Voice over LTE will not be available for launch and will be carried using existing 2G and 3G networks. Voice over LTE will be considered as part of our roadmap of capability over the coming years.

Why is the LTE World Summit such an important event in your calendar?

The LTE World Summit is an opportunity to hear how other operators and experts in their fields are dealing with the challenges posed by LTE.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.


Interview: Chang Feng, VP, technology and innovation, Oovoo

LTE in action as we interview Chang Feng, VP, technology and innovation, Oovoo.

Finally got round to editing and uploading my video interview with the VP or tech and innovation at Ooovoo. It made sense to do the the interview using Oovoo itself, and handily it has a built in recording function. And when Informa’s firewall blocked Oovoo from working an EE powered LTE iPhone 5 came to the rescue!  How apt.

Chang tells us how Oovoo aims to compete against the likes of Skype, what LTE deployments means to a video conference app provider, and how OTTs can work more closely with carriers.

Chang Feng will be speaking at the Mobile App Hub, taking place at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

When ‘vital’ does not equal ‘valued’


Paul Gainham is Juniper Network’s senior director for solutions marketing EMEA

By Paul Gainham, Juniper Network’s senior director for solutions marketing EMEA. 

As a UK citizen, I have the somewhat dubious privilege of being able to select the supplier of electricity to my house. Those suppliers, who number around five or six, are well known major utility companies who compete with each other in an open market, the downstream supply side of the electricity marketplace having been privatised in the UK some time ago. Clearly, the supply of electricity to any household is vital – without it, mine and my family’s lifestyle would be severely impacted.

And yet, curiously, I attach zero value to it.

I expect it to be delivered; I expect it to be there when I need it and most crucially, I will look for the supplier who provides the best deal in terms of who I select to supply it.  In essence, this is the definition of a true commodity market – a market (in this case) which is vital, yet holds no value in the eyes of the purchaser and is traded for on price, and price alone.

When I see the discussions, the energy and the investments the mobile operator community is making in LTE, small cell deployment, hetnets etc. I wonder if the industry is making the fatal mistake of confusing ‘vital’ with ‘valued’.

To be clear, the drive to install capacity and coverage that began in the days of 2G is vital. Users need and demand higher and higher speed access, but there is no inherent value in bandwidth – it is a commodity and to my opening analogy, commodities get traded on price and price alone, there is no long term differential value to be had from them.

Of course some operators may get the ‘bounce’ from being first to launch a service in their area of operation, but history teaches us this is only a temporary benefit.

I wrote in a previous blog that the new currency of LTE is experience and exclusivity. Mobile operators, whose goal it is to develop a long term value differentiated business model need to be much more focused on layering incremental value on top of the transport layer, not focused on the transport layer alone.  The only winners in that model are the content brands.

So, how did we end up here?

Quite simply, user expectations have been set that high-speed broadband, whether delivered in fixed or mobile formats is almost a ‘right’, a table stake.

Human emotions tend to develop in similar phases around new trends and developments and whilst I grossly oversimplify here, it could be argued that those are

  • Phase 1: Excitement – the service is new, cool and the latest ‘must have’.
  • Phase 2: Expectation – the service is widely available and has become mainstream.
  • Phase 3: Exceed – I expect and want to see more.

If you looked at mobile in a standalone manner in the context of LTE launches, it could be argued that aggregate human emotion will be at phase 1 – a phase where clearly operators have an opportunity to maximise revenue and differential.

The reality is that users have become conditioned to the benefits of broadband from the world of fixed and that operators launching LTE services will be doing so into a user base that is more likely at Phase 2 or 3 of aggregate emotion, not Phase 1.

The golden lesson for mobile operators in all of this is that whilst capacity and coverage are indeed vital, they are not necessarily valued. The key to long term value differentiation lies beyond the basics.

To paraphrase a famous statesman’s quote, “capacity and coverage is not the end, nor are they the beginning of the end but they are the end of the beginning”.

Juniper Networks is shortlisted for two categories in the LTE Awards 2013; the Best Mobile Backhaul Solution and the Best LTE Security Product. Paul Gainham will be part of the Juniper team at LTE World Summit and invites you to join the Juniper professionals to find out more.

IP transmission manager, Mobinnet, Iran: “Deploying a ubiquitous fibre network is a time and cost consuming project.”

IP transmission manager, Mobinnet, Iran

IP transmission manager, Mobinnet, Iran

Ali Tahmasebi, head of IP transmission manager, Mobinnet, Iran, is speaking on Day Two of the LTE Backhaul Summit, collocated with the LTE World Summit 2013, taking place on the 24th-26th June at the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we delve into details over backhaul technology choices and find out what he is looking forward at the LTE Backhaul Summit.

What challenges will the move to LTE have on your backhaul strategy?

Our main strategy to make our backhaul LTE-ready is to have a hierarchical structure with access, hub and metro levels. In this regard, the rollout of the network is very clear and straightforward. Nevertheless, it does raise a number of challenges, such as the number of metro and hub sites per city, and leasing and building those sites in a technically coordination fashion.

The major challenges are technical. The final decision on RAN strategy and use of either LTE-TDD or LTE-FDD has a direct impact on backhaul product type and features. Planning an optimum synchronisation strategy to handle 1588v2, defining the advanced QoS and traffic engineering features to handle congestion, end-to-end IPv6 network deployment, interoperability between different backhaul products and backhaul to core connection topology are the main challenges.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Is fibre always the preferred solution over microwave backhaul?

As a fibre optic connection can handle a huge amount of traffic on a long distance, without a negligible loss, it is very interesting for backhaul scenarios. However, deploying a ubiquitous fibre network is a time and cost consuming project and most of the time is out of a mobile network operators’ scope. Most of the fibre optic networks belong to companies that are not MNOs, so it is not cost efficient to lease fibre pass or leased BW for all the sites. The traffic of an LTE site with normal configuration is around 100-300Mbps. Todays, it is easy to handle this amount of traffic with MW radios from different vendors. As a broadband backhaul deployment scenario, the connections at metro level could be based on fibre optic rings, in hub level on high capacity nodal MW radio links and in access level they would be based on P2P MW radio links.

Some analysts say that the dedicated backhaul required for small cells could destroy the economic benefits that they might bring in terms of offload. What’s your view?

I don’t believe any dedicated backhaul is required for small cells. Full outdoor E-band MW radios are the best choice to handle the traffic. The main point is to offload Internet traffic directly to Internet without passing through the mobile operator’s core network. However, the charging and pricing method here is a challenge.

What is the most exciting development in LTE that you expect in the next 12 months?

From my personal point of view, the most exciting developments will be the move towards LTE-Advanced, standardization and releasing the new frequency bands, VoLTE improvements, small cells concept improvements and IMS deployments at the core of mobile networks.

Why is the LTE World Summit such an important show for you to attend?

This year, the LTE World Summit 2013, has been co-located with the LTE Backhaul Summit. Referring back to our experience at the LTE Asia 2012 and LTE MENA 2013, the event gives access to the leading LTE operators, vendors and opportunity to learn from the success stories of handling of data explosion, mobile broadband and LTE networks deployment. As the biggest LTE event in the world, I expect it to address operator challenges in data monetisation, OTT services, VoLTE and small cells.

Five big ideas for the modern carrier

Phil Harvey, director of corporate communications, Metaswitch Networks.

Phil Harvey, director of corporate communications, Metaswitch Networks.

As you head to the LTE World Summit, there are several big ideas floating around that could absolutely change the telecom business for network operators, perhaps making them more nimble competitors than they’ve been before. Here are five big ideas for today’s network operators that I hope to hear more about in the weeks ahead:

1) Proprietary hardware is becoming a hard sell. The world’s largest network operators have spoken loudly and clearly about their desire to embrace network functions virtualization (NFV). They want their network equipment procurement processes to change in favor of industry standard servers, Ethernet switches and IT systems running software apps from independent developers.

It remains to be seen if the incumbent equipment vendors will ultimately allow this — they seem to be the gatekeepers to carrier innovation — but it does signal that NFV is not a fad. It’s a big deal and establishing credibility in this space is critical for network equipment providers of all sizes.

2) If a vendor says, “Don’t do it,” they really mean, “We can’t do it.” The incumbent network equipment vendors have registered a few complaints about all that could go wrong by virtualising network functions. But the whining won’t stop what seems to be an inevitable march towards openly-programmable networks. Operators; if your vendors do more than the usual amount of whining, you should start worrying.

3) Over-the-top is normal. We don’t live in a “five nines” world. Anyone who has made a call on their cellphone, ever, understands that. We used to rely on “enterprise” apps and services to do our work. Now we use our Google Drive for documents, our S3 for data back-up, the DropBox app for file sharing and Netflix for entertainment. These aren’t telco-grade services — they’re better. The carrier response to all the over-the-top services should have happened years ago. Perhaps it will come someday, but that day won’t come until carriers are convinced they can redesign their networks to behave as flexibly and cost-effectively as the Web-scale companies that are currently making life easier and more productive for consumers and businesses everywhere.

4) IMS doesn’t have to be a roadblock to delivering VoLTE. The use of open source software inside of telcos is increasing and many telcos have expressed interest in Project Clearwater, an open source, cloud-enabled version of the core signaling functions of IMS. As operators are looking at the most cost effective route to offering voice over LTE (VoLTE), they should consider alternative routes that help them deliver telco-like services at using Web-scale economics. I’m looking forward to the panel on Wed. June 26 (“Bringing an Effective Voice Service to the Customer: Evaluating the Options”) where many of these issues will be discussed.

5) Google is not your enemy. Neither is Amazon or any of the other Web-scale companies that are providing services that used to be the exclusive domain of telcos. These Internet innovators have driven down the cost of cloud computing, contributed tons of code to open source projects and they test new network-based services on a willing public almost daily. Telcos can partner with, learn from and use the resources these innovators have made available to offer new services or, even better, allow new services to be created on their behalf. All they have to do is get over the perception that anyone using their networks for profit is somehow a problem to be addressed, rather than an opportunity to be harnessed.

The sober reality of small cells

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO of SpiderCloud

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO of SpiderCloud

The big question in the industry is how we can address the mobile data explosion with small cells. Clearly, the industry has to rethink the use of in-building wireless. The macro cellular network simply cannot keep up with demand, especially when most of spectrum use comes from within buildings. The sober reality is that not all small cells are the same.

Conversations at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year highlighted the need to move beyond providing the basics of reliable indoor coverage and capacity and the same when/where segmentation that took place in Wi-Fi over a decade ago, is now taking place for small cells.

Small cells are blurring the lines between networks as well as the lines between enterprise and service provider Wi-Fi. The exploding use of smartphones and mobile applications has created major concerns within enterprises use of over-the-top (OTT) services. Is this the “death of the desk phone”? Will enterprise IT teams look to operators for support to handle BYOD and consider mobility as a service?

If they do, enterprises are looking at potential savings of $60billion over the next few years. In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, almost half of the respondents reported interest in mobile device management as an operator-hosted service to manage, monitor, secure and support mobile devices in the enterprise, and demonstrated an interest in Wi-Fi-as-a-service from their operator.

Use of small cells can indeed give mobile operators an inside advantage with enterprise customers. We are entering a period of where mobility and agile network services are delivered by communications providers. It is the emergence of a new role for mobile operators. Beyond basic coverage and capacity, this is a battle for apps and the Cloud. As we look to the 2020 services network, enterprise customers and mobile operators together will help transition customers from a wireless world to a mobile world –  from “Outside-In to Inside-Out” networks.

What we do know is that multi-access small cells (3G+4G+Wi-Fi) are fast becoming a reality, and that not all small cells are the same, and that is the sober reality.

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO

Ronny rejoined SpiderCloud Wireless in June 2012 as senior vice president and CMO, having formerly served as VP Marketing July 2008 through to mid December, 2010. He has more than 23 years of global strategic marketing and industry experience from a range of technology segments including radio access networks, small cells, Wi-Fi, web and video optimisation, wireline networking and IP services, RFID, personal computing, wafer fabrication, software, and consumer devices.

You can follow Ronny Haraldsvik at Twitter @haraldsvik

SpiderCloud are panel sponsors of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.

Network CTO, Monaco & Islands Cable & Wireless: “Markets such as the USA are driving HetNets and consequently we keep a close eye at that momentum.”

joffreCyrille Joffre, Network CTO, Monaco & Islands Cable & Wireless,  is taking part in a panel discussion in the Backhaul Summit track on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we quiz him on his views on the challenges that are thrown up by HetNet deployments.  

What’s your vision of a Hetnet enabled future network and how soon will it become a reality?

Hetnets are seen as a key parameter in the high data usage areas and a crucial part of the in-building coverage equation, and promise to alleviate data traffic stress at the macro level. More importantly, the tech will enable better business cases by leveraging specific heterogeneous deployments such as “Licensed Femto”, “Bring Your Own Wi-Fi”, and “SP Carrier Wi-Fi” in different scenarios (both offload and onload) for residential, SMB/SME, metro and hotspot.

Spectrum and mobility are two fundamental characteristics of wireless networks, best defined respectively by ‘scarcity’ and ‘unpredictability’. I therefore envision that HetNets (i.e. a multi-layer, multi-mode, multi-band network architecture by common definition) help bridge these some gaps. As for Wi-Fi, unlicensed radio resources could be blurred with licensed cellular resources at user data session level (already demonstrated in labs). That would prove to be spectrally efficient and also to remove complexity for devices in connecting the network, as well as in QoS management, and as a result delivering a better user experience. Markets such as the USA are driving HetNets and consequently we keep a close eye at that momentum.

I’ve heard the opinion that the dedicated backhaul required for every small cell installed will destroy the economic benefits that they bring in terms of offload. What’s your view?

The answer to that question depends is very much driven by local market considerations. There are multiple backhaul technology options available at different cost per gigabyte and with different operational issues. The fact that small cells may not require a ‘five nine’ carrier grade mark may also relax some pressure on the business case. Finally, operator capability to monetise some of the business cases listed above will play a role.

 The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Practical difficulties in obtaining planning rights will severely limit the practical use of small in the real world? To what extent do you fear this will be true?

The reality is that small cells only improve mobile experience if you place them in close proximity to subscribers trying to access the network. Whether operators have experience with street-level site acquisition and/or aesthetics is a question. Negotiation, approvals, and fees vary between councils and regions but we have seen some local councils making deals with operators for street furniture. Other interesting street-level issues also emerge such as that power to street lamps is shut off at seven AM in most cities, and no operator would enjoy a small cell blackout every morning. And once the small cell is fixed onto a lamp post, climbing that lamp post every time a fault occurs becomes cumbersome for a technician. Site planning will be key.

Why is the LTE World Summit such an important show for you to attend?

As fixed and mobile service providers for both residential and business segments, LTE plays a key role for our businesses, and not only mobile. This summit is also the place to get a flavour of what your peers are doing, the good and the not so good. Finally, you will probably be exposed to the latest 5G labs testing happening worldwide!

Monetising OTT traffic on LTE networks

Jonathon Gordon, AVP Marketing, Allot Communications

Jonathon Gordon, AVP marketing, Allot Communications

With the roll out of LTE networks around the world, mobile data usage is skyrocketing, opening the door to a wealth of new revenue opportunities for communications service providers. However, at the same time, operators are being challenged to find ways monetise LTE services beyond basic access fees, while maintaining a high quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers.

Today, most LTE pricing schemes are based primarily on speed and the number of gigabytes consumed. However, as LTE moves towards the mainstream, operators will be forced to introduce new service differentiators in order to remain competitive and increase LTE revenues. That being said, in the not too distant future, emphasis on LTE speed will be replaced with the introduction of more personalised LTE “experiences”, including unique value-added services.

With the growing popularity of over-the-top (OTT) players like Facebook, Skype and Netflix on LTE networks, operators who properly leverage OTT traffic intelligence today stand to benefit greatly in the long run.

Unlike 3G, where traffic detection (or deep packet inspection – DPI) was an important tool to help manage network traffic and reduce congestion, the 3GPP forum has defined traffic detection as an integral function for LTE networks. A feature of the 3GPP Release 11 LTE standard, “Traffic Detection Function” (TDF) enables operators to view critical data across their networks and obtain actionable subscriber insight.

By enabling operators to easily identify the subscriber, the application, and content in use, as well as the device, TDF enables carriers to create personalised application-based service tiers and offerings that uniquely match subscriber preferences. Such packages can include tailored gaming, social networking, video streaming and other services.

This network visibility provides greater flexibility when it comes to managing quality of service, charging for use, and steering traffic to value-added services. Moreover, the introduction of new personalised pricing plans deeply appeals to subscribers, helping to generate new revenue, increase QoE and reduce churn.

In addition to introducing new pricing plans, TDF enables operators to create device-based service offerings. For example, operators can identify mobile tethering and apply a premium charging plan. Additionally, TDF lets operators enhance the quality of service for applications like VoIP or video streaming, and then charge more for premium experiences. Finally, TDF enables carriers to easily migrate from 3G to 4G LTE, while keeping policies, speed, and quality of service consistent.

In today’s competitive market, it is clear that DPI technologies, which are at the core of TDF, are no longer a ‘nice feature to have’; they are essential tools to both enhance the service provider’s business and enrich subscriber experience. Those operators that invest in understanding OTT traffic patterns and are able to successfully translate the data into new, personalised and differentiated service plans, will enjoy a competitive advantage, while reaping the benefits of optimised network performance and new revenue streams.

Jonathon Gordon is the AVP of Marketing at Allot Communications a leading global provider of intelligent broadband solutions that put mobile, fixed and enterprise networks at the centre of the digital lifestyle. Jonathon joined Allot in 1999 and has also held management positions in customer support, product management, and international sales, where he has garnered broad and diverse experience in the many facets of the broadband industry.

To speak directly with Allot Communications come to meeting room 5 on the exhibition floor of the LTE World Summit 2013, taking place  on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. 

Interview: Founder, Getjar: “We’ve measured a direct correlation between data connection speed/reliability and app engagement.”

Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar

Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar

Ilja Laurs, chairman and founder of Getjar is taking part in a panel discussion  on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about this innovative App store, and why the performance of the network is so crucial to the user experience.

Please tell us a little about Getjar.

GetJar is an app distribution and monetisation platform for Android. We distribute 750,000 apps, have 500,000 registered developers, and to date have achieved three billion downloads. Our rewards-based virtual currency GetJar Gold has reached 200 million users, of which 30 million are active on a monthly basis.

How does your business model differ from that of the Apple and Android app stores?

Unlike Apple and Google’s retail model, we focus on “paid discovery”. We promote all major apps, from Facebook to games and our revenues come from app promotional budgets.  A unique aspect of our business model is that we give a portion of the advertising revenues to users (as a rewards virtual currency GetJar Gold) that they can then spend on premium content and in-app purchases.

Smartphones and tablets have dramatically altered the mobile landscape yet are still only around half of the mobile phone market. How great an opportunity is this for Getjar and other digital innovators?

A great opportunity! We, and all partners that we work with, are almost entirely focussed on smartphones. While a big share of the mobile market (and GetJar legacy business) is still feature phones, given the technical constrains and limited future (we give them a couple of years), nobody is investing in the segment.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

As you look to grow, what are the biggest challenges you face?

Android fragmentation is among the biggest challenges. We had to deal with fragmentation back in Java days, so we know how difficult it is. Among other challenges are poor Android monetisation. Relative to iOS, an average Android user is worth 5x less. This is primarily because Google on the one hand has not solved billing for Android, and on the other hand does not allow any alternative billing platforms.

Another issue is that the move to earn from mobile advertising dollars is slow. It took 15 years for the internet to attract only 10 per cent of the potential advertising budgets from ‘old media’ (TV, radio and print), if measured by ad dollars relative to the consumer engagement.

A third issue is that despite being large Android markets, business is very difficult in China and Korea  as Google Play is not allowed, and distribution is very controlled and fragmented.

How excited are you by the 4G roll-outs taking place worldwide?

Absolutely excited! Numerous times we’ve measured a direct correlation between data connection speed/reliability and app engagement.

What would be your advice to those looking to develop apps?

One advice would be to seriously look at freemium/in-app vs. the paid business model. At GetJar, we get to see how different business models perform and it’s absolutely clear that a successful Freemium/in-app business model is not just better than paid, but often 10-20 times better! E.g. we’ve seen a casual game raise its RPM (revenue per thousand users) from $12 to $240 when it moved from paid to optimised in-app (selling levels, upgrades and other virtual goods).

Why are you choosing to attend the LTE World Summit?

We work a lot with app developers. Many of them are very interested in carrier APIs, especially with the rise of LTE, where a lot of app activity depends on the network (streaming services, location, etc.). I hope that sharing some of the biggest developer challenges will help the operators to better optimise their networks and services for developer, and ultimately consumer, needs.

Interview: Executive Director, ICT Institute, Indonesia: “4G, will have a great positive impact on the Indonesian community’s economy and job creation prospects.”

Heru Sutadi, founder and executive director, ICT Institute, Indonesia

Heru Sutadi, founder and executive director, ICT Institute, Indonesia

Heru Sutadi, founder and executive director, ICT Institute, Indonesia is appearing on Day One of the LTE World Summit taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about this thoughts on the issues of roaming spectrum harmonisation.

What overall impact has the development of advanced telecom services, and specifically 4G, had in Indonesia?

Telecommunications developments, and in particular 4G, will have a great positive impact on the Indonesian community’s economy and job creation prospects. As a predominantly mobile broadband country, Indonesia requires the latest wireless technology because the public need high-speed access, putting pressure on the operators to provide a higher quality of service for its users.

What areas need to be focussed on to improve the environment for LTE roaming?

To develop LTE roaming, a suitable environment should be built, the focus of this being the harmonisation of frequencies in the region and around the world. This will then enable interoperability between mobile devices and customer premises equipment (CPE). Without proper regard for interoperability, and the use of LTE/4G frequencies that do not match the frequency allocation used in other countries, roaming will of course be a problem.

How important will spectrum harmonisation be for the mobile technology that follows LTE?

Harmonisation of the frequency spectrum will be very important as it will help lower the price of mobile device and CPE and also improve interoperability for users when roaming abroad.

What do you think will be the most exciting development in telecoms in the next two years?

In the next two years, the speed and capacity of telecommunications equipment will increase. This needs to be done to meet the challenges of rapid increase in the demand for data. Large files such as video will dominate but other applications will also be so important, because what is the use of a high-speed network if it is only used for conversations or SMS.

Why is the LTE World Summit such a critical event in your calendar?

The LTE summit is very important because through this event we can see and hear the latest developments in technology and establish communications and networking with all parties in the world involved with the development of LTE.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Interview: CTIO, Etisalat, UAE: “Applications that enhance the customer experience will help us monetise our investments.”

Marwan Zawaydeh is the CTIO of Etisalat, UAE.

Marwan Zawaydeh is the CTIO of Etisalat, UAE.

Marwan Zawaydeh is the CTIO of Etisalat, UAE. He will be speaking on Day Two of the LTE World summit taking place on the on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the latest developments in LTE in the region and learn more about his views on RCS, roaming and LTE monetisation. 

We spoke to you this time last year. How has your LTE network developed since then?  

These were very exciting 12 months for Etisalat and for our customers, and we are looking forward to build on this success to continue to lead innovation in the region and provide our customers the latest in technology. We were able to significantly enhance LTE coverage, which has now reached 80 per cent of the populated area. Coverage will be further enhanced further this year as the number of deployed sites will double. We were also able to bring a very rich portfolio of LTE terminals which includes dongles, a Mi-Fi, and popular smartphones from Apple, Samsung, and Blackberry. We were able to secure exclusive deals with these top manufacturers and were able to provide our customers with very attractive packages. This resulted in significant growth of our mobile data traffic as our customers adopted LTE enthusiastically. This has resulted in a significant increase in the ARPU from our mobile customers.

Can you give me examples of a couple of your biggest challenges that you faced?

The first challenge we had was to provide proper coverage to our LTE customers. We started with the 2.6GHz band because it was the only band available at the time. This gave us regional leadership in LTE until enough spectrum in the 1.8GHz band became available.  Another big challenge was the fragmentation of the LTE global deployment and the difficulty in bringing a comprehensive LTE eco-system to our customers. We had to expedite the introduction of the 1.8GHz band to be able to provide our customers the best-in-class LTE smart phones and LTE devices.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

How do you meet the challenge of offering good value to the consumer and at the same time monetising your investments?

This challenge can only be met when investments result in superior customer experience and access to new and innovative products and services. Fortunately, LTE is all about providing our mobile customers much higher throughput, lower latency, and an overall superior customer experience. But this wouldn’t be possible unless we looked at our network end-to-end. Many operators struggle in backhauling LTE traffic and that results in a deteriorated customer experience. Etisalat had a vision several years ago to invest heavily in the fibre network as a converged and future-proof platform. The UAE is currently number one globally in deep fibre deployment because of Etisalat. Our fibre-rich network enabled us to provide GigE connectivity to all our mobile sites to provide an unmatched customer experience. At the same time, continuing to flatten the network architecture helped us enhance the cost effectiveness of our deployment and significantly enhance the overall delivered value to our customers. Applications that enhance the customer experience will help us monetise our investments.

An example of that is eLifeTV, which provides our customers with access to live HD channels and HD video content. We are finding it to be very popular in our market and now we have the platform to enable it we will continue to introduce similar services.

How important is LTE roaming for your customers and what are the challenges in enabling it?

UAE has a unique characteristic of a huge expat population that roam a lot so it is important to facilitate LTE roaming as early as possible, but there are several challenges that still remain.

Current roaming agreements do not provide the required QoS, SLA, and security requirements for enriched LTE services. Etisalat is in the process of deploying an IPX Hub to enhance the roaming capabilities,not only for data traffic, but also for high value voice and rich communication services in the future. Etisalat’s goal is not only to provide roaming to customers in our local market but to become a roaming hub for other operators as well.

What are your plans for RCS-based services and are you excited about them?

We believe enriched services such as RCS are the future and we are actively exploring various options of introducing RCS services as part of our portfolio of innovative products and services. Actually, we already have the required back-end system, which will ensure a fast time to market. We are working with our marketing team to determine the right market-entry strategy for these services in UAE.

Why is the best thing for you about attending the LTE World Summit?

We are always keen on attending the LTE World Summit to share our experience and learn from other leading operators. The telecom industry is very dynamic and mobile technology is evolving fast. Etisalat takes pride in consistently taking a leadership in the MENA region and providing our customers with the most innovative technologies and best in class products and services. Attending the LTE World Summit helps us travel fast through the experience curve via engagement with the top operators and vendors in the industry.

Interview: President, Network Group, Korea Telecom: “Carrier aggregation will enable us to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities.”

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom, South Korea is delivering an opening keynote speech on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we get a comprehensive update on KT’s cutting-edge LTE deployment and why its CCC architecture brings it a competitive advantage.

What major developments have there been with regards to the LTE industry in your region this past year?

In the past year KT’s LTE network covered 99 per cent of the population in Korea. The traffic volume of our LTE networks has surpassed that of our 3G network, even though the only a quarter of KT’s subscribers are on LTE. This impressive deployment has been accomplished over the past year using the CCC (Cloud Communication Center) architecture, the most simple network deployment architecture, as far as I know. In the CCC architecture, all the RUs (Radio Unit) are connected to DU (Digital Unit) pools located in the centralisation center via through optic cores. The signals from multiple RUs are processed all together to optimise the radio performance and mitigate the inter-cell interference. To introduce more carriers in the near future, the optic cores and DU processing pools will be reused and RUs will be installed at a local cell site via the plug-in method. In addition, KT launched a VoLTE and PSVT (Packet Switched Video Telephony) service, which provides the HD-Voice and HD-Video service.

What are the chief technical challenges you are facing?

LTE is very sensitive to inter-cell interference due to the nature of OFDM-based systems. In a conventional architecture inter-cell interference control has limitations due to the delay and low speed between eNodeBs. KT’s CCC is a radical solution designed to resolve these inter-cell interference problems. However, the growing demand for higher data rates and the increase of LTE subscribers requires additional solutions such as carrier aggregation and femtocells. Through our close collaboration with several vendors we are trying to discover the optimal solutions. Our so-called “Connect & Development” method is focused on inter-eNodeB cooperation, which is the basis for carrier aggregation and HetNet technology.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

Most of our customers’ dissatisfaction comes from cell-edge regions where the QoS is very low, due to the inter-cell interference, causing missed or dropped calls. In order to enhance cell-edge performance we have introduced new techniques named “JT (Joint Transmission)” and “CS (Coordinated Scheduling)”. These two technologies reduce inter-cell interference, but should be selectively used according to the network load. In the case of heavy traffic load, we should mainly focus on CS and in the case of low traffic, JT is beneficial as it improves throughput by increasing the signal strength. All these procedures come under the umbrella of SON (Self Optimized Network) technology.

Is VoLTE part of your plans and what benefits will it bring both to operators and consumers?

We have already commercialised VoLTE services. The “Idle to Active” time in 3G networks is about 2-3 seconds, and therefore the call set-up time for mobile-to-mobile is about 4-6 seconds. However, in LTE networks, the “Idle to Active” time is less than 100ms. Therefore, if you make a VoLTE call, the called party will respond within 1 second as well as it will make a connection to network within 100ms. In addition, the high voice quality of AMR-WB using 23kbps is very attractive to our customers. When using CSFB as an interim solution for voice service, PS calls also uses 3G networks during the voice calls causing user inconvenience due to the low 3G data speed. From the operator viewpoint, VoLTE will make it easy to reach an all-IP service, which will reduce the OPEX compared to conventional infrastructures.

Pricing for LTE is a controversial subject. Are operators getting it right?

ARPU of 3G smartphone users is $40. However, an ARPU of LTE user is about $50. That is, with LTE networks we can expect ARPU increase by 20 per cent. Recently, KT commercialised an LTE Unlimited price plan at $95 compared to the unlimited 3G data service tariffs that start from $54. However, there are many concerns regarding unlimited price plans on LTE. That policy was driven mainly by the competitive market situation in South Korea.

Do you think that LTE offers great opportunities for monetisation or does it present challenges?

One opportunity for LTE is its high-data rate and low latency, which guarantees QoS for streaming and interactive services. Content is easily accessible with LTE smartphones and “virtual goods” can be monetised and delivered via LTE networks. For example, we can provide a better or guaranteed QoS for users viewing adverts. New LTE-based services such as eMBMS and RCS also offer an opportunity for monetisation. KT is preparing for eMBMS pre-commercial services within this year. However, if operators lose the right to control QoS due to the regulation issues, operators will face some challenges for sustainable growth and should make an effort to develop a new ICT (Information Communication Technology) business model.

In order to offer a more competitive service than the OTT players KT is leveraging CCC for ICT business. CCC is a kind of domain-specific cloud technology, based on virtualisation. By unifying the platform for radio and several application services into CCC, we can provide cross-layer optimised services between applications and radio. For example, we can utilise user contexts such as user ID, traffic content, QoS, location, and the radio environment to provide the most suitable service to our customers. I expect that all these services will offer a great monetisation opportunity to mobile network operators.

Where do small cells fit into your plans?

Most of KT’s mobile network infrastructure already consists of small cells. This is because the small cell is key to meeting capacity demands and removes coverage holes in a cost effective way. With the advent of smartphones and the exponential growth of data traffic, CCC-based small cells for 3G and 4G have been playing a significant role. The inter-site distance of these small cells is no more than 100m in Seoul, whereas the coverage of macro cell in rural areas is around 1-2km.

As an in-building solution KT has developed business femtocells, targeting both data offloading for capacity and in-building coverage. The business femtocells have been deployed at public places such as cafe and markets for public subscribers. We are currently developing a home femtocell and will introduce some calling plans for private subscribers. Following mass deployment, we expect more than 10 per cent of traffic will be off-loaded to femtocells in the near future, compared to the current data off-load of less than one per cent. In addition, the business and home femtocells will co-operate with CCC to reduce the inter-cell interference.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

From the viewpoint of network development, KT plans to introduce inter-band carrier aggregation and expand the system bandwidth up to 20MHz from 10MHz. This will enable us to double the maximum date rate to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities for all the mobile related industries such as M2M, streaming and cloud services.

 This year, our evolved CCC network (LTE WARP Advanced) will support advanced CoMP technology. A DM-RS (Demodulation Reference Signal) based on JT (Joint Transmission) technology will expand the JT areas into the cell edge using the different PCIs (Physical Cell ID). Furthermore, CS (Coordinated Scheduling) will be expanded into the heterogeneous network with the component of CCC-based small cell solutions such as picocell and femtocell through an X2 interface.

 From the viewpoint of service development, KT will introduce application and radio converged services provided in CCC. For example, accessed information is frequently kept in CCC that is physically and logically closer to the user side. By reducing the amount of traffic on EPC, WAN links, and overburdened Web servers, caching provides significant benefits to reduce TCO and service delays. I expect that more application services such as LBS based smart dialling and local community services will be accommodated in CCC in future.

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