Jayhun Mollazade is the CEO of Sazz, the Azerbaijani broadband provider owned by local telecoms operator Azqtel. He is delivering a case study on the operators Wimax to LTE migration strategy on Day Two of the 4th annual LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. In the interview we get an update on Sazz’s plans, and Mollazade’s view of the TD-LTE eco-system, and what he thinks will have an impact on the LTE industry in 2014.
What’s the latest update on your deployment of an LTE network?
We have recently spent time attending seminars, technical presentations and webinars to gain deep knowledge about the LTE technology, its technical applications and benefits and how we can apply it to our company and customers. We have also spent some time planning the possible deployment of LTE and our migration path from Wimax. Have completed discussions with several vendors and we expect to make a selection sometime soon.
Coming from WiMAX, TD-LTE is your choice of technology. How happy are you with the progress of the eco-system?
The TD-LTE ecosystem is developing very fast with announcements coming from China, Japan and the US for support for the TD-LTE technology. We have also joined and participated in the global TD-LTE community conferences spearheaded by the GTI. While the ecosystem has not developed to the level of support achieved on the FDD-LTE side, we feel very comfortable with the progress made to date and we are very confident that future developments will enable us to meet our needs and the needs of our customers.
How has data usage changed over the last couple of years in your network?
As with other broadband operators, we have seen an explosion in the use of data on our network. While we have not quantified this explosion in terms of percentages, we know that it’s probably somewhere in the order of more than 100 per cent per year. In particular, we have noted that a significant amount of our data traffic is video.
The 4th annual LTE MENA conference is taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. Click here to find out more about the event.
What do you think will be the biggest technology development for LTE in 2014?
For operators, we expect the most significant development of 2014 to be the maturity of LTE-Advanced technology and its features. We feel the maturity of this technology will enable operators to extend services and network capacity to levels that are just now being discussed and tested in labs. From the customer side, we expect that more and more user handsets such as smartphones and tablets to become available with LTE chips embedded in them.
How soon will you be looking at the latest technology such as LTE Advanced?
We are currently looking at LTE Advanced and its features and capabilities. Our goal is to deploy them on our network when this technology is mature. We expect this to happen in 2015.
What are your biggest challenges ahead for 2014?
We plan to continue the evaluation of the LTE technology in 2014. The key challenges for us is to develop the right migration strategy, product pricing and vendor selection.
Why is the LTE MENA conference such an important date in the diary for you?
The MENA conference helps us to interface with other operators who trying to make the transition from current networks to LTE and also to meet with vendors. In general, it helps us to better our understanding of the LTE technology, its pluses and minuses, and to decide how best we can use this technology to meet our business goals.