Sridhar T. Pai runs Tonse Telecom, a research, analysis and consulting firm based out of Bangalore, India, that covers the Indian telecom sector extensively. Pai is chairing a panel discussion on integrating Carrier Wi-Fi on Day Two of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore.
What do you consider to have been the main developments and major milestones over the last 12 months with regards to LTE?
The main developments are that LTE is now real, as indeed is LTE Advanced. In terms of signalling, Diameter is now the defining protocol for LTE , and LTE Roaming is soon going to become a big deal and operators need to wake up to the reality of this. IPX operators need to upgrade to support LTE roaming.
How much of a challenge do you feel monetising LTE will be?
3G became a very big driver of bandwidth only after iPhone was launched. The question is whether the iPhone 5c/S will once again change the game for LTE, or will it be something else? The big challenge for LTE monetisation is in my opinion to the need to be really intelligent in finding out what the consumer is willing to pay extra for. Yes, it’s a higher speed experience but the stickiness is crucial or it’s just more bandwidth and the higher speed may be not enough of a winning formula for LTE.
Tell me about the fresh challenges that LTE brings with regard to backhaul?
It brings huge challenges. More data use inevitably more bandwidth required and more capacity demands, but with less revenue, lesser margins and more CAPEX costs for operators. It can be a vicious downward spiral for telcos. Small cell offer the potential to make it better, but the costs are still there and managing hundreds of micro base stations is not trivial.
Can initiatives such as RCS Joyn enable carriers to overcome the OTT threat?
RCS Joyn is not likely to enable carriers to overcome OTT. It’s too little too late. The only way the OTT threat can be avoided is by partnering with them. It is vital for telcos to realize this.
Why is attending the LTE Asia conference such an important date in your diary?
It’s the most authoritative LTE event in Asia with wide support and a hugely rich speaker base. It great for sharing experiences and in a convenient location for me!