Alberto Boaventura

Alberto Boaventura, technology consultant for Oi Brazil

Oi Brasil is the brand name of Telemar, one of the four large carriers operating in Brazil, with over 50 million subscribers as of December 2013, according to Informa’s WCIS statistics. LTE deployment and uptake is in its early stages, but Alberto Boaventura, technology consultant for Oi, describes how delivering capacity rather than speed is the focus for its network deployment.

Boaventura is speaking at the fifth annual LTE LATAM conference, taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where you can catch him speaking on Day Two describing a case study focusing on how 4G is providing a new level of experience for customers.

How big an opportunity is the forthcoming World Cup for Oi Brasil?

Oi is as official sponsor of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and our focus is to accomplish this important mission.

How important will LTE roaming be in time for the World Cup next year?

Currently, the infrastructure and interconnection agreements are on course to provide LTE Roaming in 2014.

What progress are you seeing on improving the integration between 3G/LTE and Wi-Fi?

Wi-Fi is becoming an important wireless access alternative because it:

  • Is cheaper than other forms of mobile broadband access (HSPA+/LTE);
  • Provides a good customer experience;
  • Has harmonised frequency in all countries round the world;
  • Is supported by all smartphones and tablets;
  • Is becoming an ubiquitous and preferable access technology for modern mobile broadband devices

However, there are some existing constraints that must be solved such as authentication (captive portal/EAP-SIM/AKA), security and cryptography, seamless mobility (ANDSF and PMIP), charging and network policy (needed to integrate to PCEF) and business model (free of charge the same as mobile broadband services. Thus it requires evolving from traditional architecture to new ones based on 3GPP architectures with new elements and interface integration. In terms of progress, this is naturally and smoothly happening in mobile operator Wi-Fi product offerings.

Today, Wi-Fi based on versions 802.11n and 802.11ac compete with LTE and LTE-Advanced respectively, but the main problem in the near future is interference from unlicensed bands.

LTE LATAM 2014

The fifth annual LTE LATAM conference is taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Click here to download a brochure for the event.

What impact will small cells have on your network deployment in 2014?

One of the main attributes of mobile communication is providing continuity of services in any location – this is true mobility, and service unavailability can cause great frustration and is one of the main causes of churn.

However, despite the service obligations associated with outdoor coverage in general, approximately 80 per cent of all mobile broadband communications are generated in the indoor environment.  In fact, there is no single strategy to solving the indoor coverage problem but small cells are an indispensable tool for delivering this by improving the customer experience of voice and data, due to their ability to be rapidly and simply rolled out.

Recently, small cells have become known as solutions for areas of high traffic density, such as stadiums and public arenas, handling video and social media. According to Cisco, video will correspond to 75 per cent of all mobile data traffic by 2017, and over 50 per cent of social network traffic will originate from mobile devices. In terms of physical space, the Convention Industry Council manual guidelines recommend at least 10 square feet per person, which would represent one million people per square kilometer. In this scenario, if everyone is uploading video at 64 kbps it would represent 64 Gbps/km2 in uplink alone! Additionally, according to studies of the Bungee and Artists 4G projects, by 2016 this density in the downtown of big cities may surpass 800 Mbps/km2 at its peak. This density will not be captured by the macro network, but by small cells.

Therefore, Oi considers small cells as important tools for improving customer experience by increasing coverage and capacity.

What would you pick out as the most important technology to make an impact in 2014?

The main challenge coming up is how to accommodate the tsunami of mobile broadband traffic at a lower investment level, while also improving the customer experience at the same time. This requires a  set of technologies rather than a single one. First, it is imperative, not only to understand network behavior through existing measurements and KPIs, but also to understand how the user perceives each service (voice, video, data).

Technology that can quickly, efficiently and automatically detect network and service degradation and how to fix it is also vital.  The new industry vision is of Self Organized Networks for self-planning, self-adjustment and self-healing.

SON must be orchestrated by an analytics platform for the access and core networks, and that will eventually require a big data platform for additional research into the causes of network problems. Due to the rapid and unpredictable behavior of traffic on the network, capacity must be elastic. This implies a new business model for network licensing charges and tools such as Network Function Virtualization (NFV) for on-demand network capacity adjustments. Finally, small cells will play new role in 2014 as a very important tool for crowd traffic capturing.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for operators in 2013?

The biggest challenge is to provide more capacity at lower cost. Today mobile market is at an inflection point passing from the voice to data era. However, mobile voice and data services are based on two different business models. Voice pricing is volume based and revenues are linearly correlated to the number of minutes. The same is true of the cost structure.

Conversely, mobile broadband services are flat-fee based and revenues are decoupled from traffic and therefore also from operating costs and investment requirements. In other words, costs are dependent on traffic per user, but not revenues. The revenue and traffic decoupling requires research in technologies and solutions that minimise the TCO. One important solution is RAN sharing and Oi has the biggest LTE radio sharing operation in Americas.

Why is the LTE LATAM conference such an important date in the diary?

LTE LATAM provides an excellent opportunity for the industry to provide an update regarding the mobile broadband market and solutions. We can meet important players in the industry such as operators, suppliers and regulators. Oi has participated ever since the first event, and each year LTE LATAM becomes bigger in terms of number of participants and relevant subjects. For Oi, LTE LATAM is one of the most important telecommunication trade events in Latin America.

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