Archive for April, 2014

Bandwidth problems slowing you down? Try a continuous data connection

Sherry Zameer, Telecommunication Solutions for Middle East & Africa at Gemalto

Sherry Zameer, Telecommunication Solutions for Middle East & Africa at Gemalto

Most of us have been in a position where we rely on a mobile internet connection to perform our daily tasks, like accessing maps on the way to a meeting, or checking information updated in real-time, be that via text updates or rich image/video sharing. One thing we know for certain is that the insatiable demand for smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices is generating staggering amounts of mobile data.

As this Cisco report suggests, until recently, most mobile industry executives viewed Wi-Fi as the ‘poor cousin’ to licensed mobile communications. Most mobile operators now realise that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers. Shoppers, for example, are coming to expect Wi-Fi in stores. In a recent survey by SapientNitro and GfK Roper, 63 per cent of respondents said free Wi-Fi would enhance their shopping experience.


Balancing negotiation power with OTT players

Eric Van Haetsdaele, Director Global Solution Marketing at Astellia

Eric Van Haetsdaele, Director Global Solution Marketing at Astellia

Few operators have successfully launched their own applications to compete with OTTs. Telefonica Digital for instance took down its Tu Me app, which was supposed to be a retort to third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber. Even the GSMA-based Joyn standard did not live up to expectations and hasn’t delivered yet on its promises. It is becoming extremely hard to out-innovate OTT players. Therefore, the only way for operators to avoid revenue drain is to partner with OTT providers and develop attractive tariff plans to increase value for money.


Unlicensed LTE: good luck with that


Unlicensed LTE (uLTE) has been put under the spotlight since it was proposed by Qualcomm in November 2013. The uLTE solution uses the radio carrier aggregation of LTE-Advanced to allow licensed radio spectrum technologies to aggregate carriers that operate in unlicensed bands. From a technical perspective, the solution is elegant in its simplicity. However, uLTE needs more than technical elegance for mass market success and depends on a variety of factors including support by the 3GPP, equipment vendors and service providers.

Since it is still in its infancy, most industry players are adopting a “wait and see” approach to the efficacy of uLTE, while others are using it to rekindle the age-old battleground between licensed and unlicensed radio spectrum technologies. While this battleground has seen both sides aggressively defend their territories with elaborate technical dissertations, the insurgence of unlicensed Wi-Fi into the licensed spectrum world is a clear indication of…

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Combining DSL and LTE to boost the user experience

Today in many cases, DSL subscribers do not get sufficient data rates through their DSL line, which results in poor internet user experience at home. There are several ways and technologies available to increase the access speeds through the DSL line: upgrading from ADSL to VDSL; upgrading from VDSL to VDSL bonding; using VDSL Vectoring, bringing the Network (Central Office) closer to the subscriber to shorten the loop length, and using fibre, among others. However, all these technologies require an investment/upgrade of the network infrastructure.


Interview: Chief Technology Officer, Nextel Brasil: “Nextel Brazil depends on its network quality in order to ensure an excellent experience for its customers.”

Nestor Bergero, chief technology officer for Nextel Brasil

Nestor Bergero, chief technology officer for Nextel Brasil

Nestor Bergero, chief technology officer for Nextel Brasil is speaking at the LTE Latin America conference, taking place on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ahead of the show we get a brief update on its LTE network status.

What is the status of your LTE roll-out and how big an impact will it make on your customers in 2014?

So far our LTE Network has been deployed in the M Band on 1800MHZ in Rio de Janeiro where we have strong brand recognition. We are also very successful in the post-paid segment with 3G. Currently we are looking for an LTE license for São Paulo.


LTE express – operators, time to get on board

David Swift - Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Wireless Networks Marketing & Strategy, Alcatel-Lucent

David Swift – Senior Manager, Product Marketing, Wireless Networks Marketing & Strategy, Alcatel-Lucent

The LTE era has arrived and is already delivering much faster mobile broadband speeds to end-users – but operators need to move fast to keep customers happy and themselves ahead of the competition. LTE is addressing customer demand for the fastest possible mobile broadband experience. Put simply, LTE customers are happier customers, since they can now enjoy mobile broadband which is as fast and reliable as the fixed-line broadband they are used to at home and in the office. This means that bandwidth-heavy applications—coincidentally the most popular with end-users—such as streaming music, downloading entire albums on the move, uploading photos to social media and streaming high-definition video, are all possible, wherever the user is. In fact, 63 per cent of consumers now say that LTE is an important factor when purchasing smartphones.


Broadband Department, Director, MINISTERIO DAS COMUNICAÇÕES, Brazil: “We believe that more people will have Internet access through 4G than through fixed broadband by 2017.”

Artur Coimbra, Broadband Department, Director, MINISTERIO DAS COMUNICAÇÕES, Brazil

Artur Coimbra, Broadband Department, Director, MINISTERIO DAS COMUNICAÇÕES, Brazil

Artur Coimbra, Broadband Department, Director, MINISTERIO DAS COMUNICAÇÕES, Brazil is taking part in a regulator panel discussion entitled : “Spectrum Consolidation and Challenges and Opportunities for LTE Success”, taking place at the LTE Latin America conference on the 28th-30th April 2014, at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ahead of the show we speak to him about his vision for the future of telcoms in Brazil.

What your vision for the future of Brazil’s telecommunications in the next few years?

Mobile telecommunications in Brazil will keep growing as the major vehicle of Internet access to the population, especially for those who are looking to gain access to the Internet for the first time. That will happen naturally. On the other hand, despite some investment in optical fibre, local networks will be made to support 4G deployment and usage—we think that the growth of FTTx technologies will not increase at the same level as 4G access, for example. Therefore we think a number of incentives will be needed to foster fixed broadband access networks growth.


‘VoLTE Calling’: Are we ready for Voice-over-LTE?

Sonal Ghelani

Conference Researcher, Informa Telecoms & Media

Voice-over-LTE is a much awaited technology that has seen many trials since its first commercial launch by Korea’s SK Telecom and MetroPCS in the US in 2012. With 279 LTE networks now deployed around the world, according to the GSA, it is expected that 2014 will be the year that will see VoLTE more widely launched.

VoLTE promises clearer calls that will connect much quicker and use less bandwidth, thus the move from legacy circuit-switched networks onto LTE networks is vital. Successful VoLTE calls require VoLTE technology in the network along with compatible devices, such as those made by Samsung, and these have already been used in trials by Verizon, AT&T and EE, though the GSA now lists 329 devices that support VoLTE’s W-AMR codec.

What is also important are the other services, and therefore monetisation opportunities, that VoLTE enables over the network—how this technology is becoming the evolution of voice services and how it might bring different ecosystems together to provide great customer experience.

VoLTE will be a hot topic at the upcoming LTE World Summit in June, but also later in the year the LTE Voice Summit 2014, a dedicated voice event, will present speakers from Orange, Vodafone, EE, Telefonica, SK Telecom, LG Uplus and many other operators. At the event these operators will share their experiences and provide an insight on use and test cases of VoLTE deployments, along with discussing the fundamental reasons why carriers are implementing VoLTE.

Will it be successful in creating another revenue stream for operators, or is it just to eliminate the treat by OTT players? Come and join this debate at the LTE World Summit on 24-25th June, and at the LTE Voice Summit on the 7-8th October 2014, London.

World Summit 2014

VoLTE: Progress and problems


Voice over LTE has been one of the most highly anticipated network features to come along in recent years. As it stands, LTE is only used for data services, with voice being routed over legacy circuit-switched networks.The ability to offer voice over IP service via wireless offers operators a path toward a flatter, less expensive and more efficient network, with the ability to eventually sunset their 3G networks.

Operators have been talking about VoLTE for several years now, with expectations that roll-outs would begin last year in earnest — only they’ve been delayed again and again as carriers grapple with the real-world performance of VoLTE not being up to the quality expectations set by 3G networks.

At last week’s LTE Innovation Summit in Del Mar, Calif., it was clear that VoLTE is still coming together, and many pieces that have to work together in order to make this radical jump…

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Difference between FDD-LTE and TD-LT


The two versions of LTE are very similar. In fact, they differ only in the physical layer and, as a result, the version implemented is transparent to the higher layers. This means that UE will be able to support both TD-LTE and FDD-LTE with one chipset with only minor modifications required. UE based on those chipsets are (or will soon be) available from Sony Ericsson, Huawei, Samsung, Nokia, and others.


The following features are unique to TD-LTE: 
1. Frame structure – 3GPP has specified a special subframe that allows switching between downlink and uplink transmission.

2. Random access – Several additional random access formats exist 
in certain subframes. Also, several random access channels exist in 
every subframe.

3. Scheduling – The scheduling for the uplink is multi-frame.

4. HARQ – The number of HARQ processes depends on the uplink/downlink resource allocation.

5. ACK/NACK – Multiple acknowledgements and negative acknowledgements are combined on the uplink control channels.This ultimately leads to increased control signaling and lower spectrum/resource utilization.

6. Guard periods – These are used in the center of special subframes. They allow for the advance of the uplink transmission timing.

Another difference between FDD-LTE and TD-LTE is that in FDD-LTE every downlink subframe can be associated with an uplink subframe. In TD-LTE the number of downlink and uplink subframes is different and such association is not possible.

In terms of spectrum efficiency, the performances of TD-LTE and FDD-LTE are similar for non-delay sensitive traffic. The lower performance of TD-LTE is due to the guard periods mentioned above.

Finally, TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA work together with minimum interference issues, even if both technologies are deployed in the same frequency band (assuming that the TD-LTE UL:DL configurations are chosen correctly and both systems are synchronized to the same time source).

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Digicel focused on superior data experience and quality – Excited about LTE deployment

“I say, I say, I say. My wife went to the Caribbean and used 4G! Jamaica? No, she did it of her own accord.”… I’m here all week, tip your waitress…

Qualcomm invests in 4G-bandwidth sharing, getting in on M87’s $3M Series A


A small Austin startup called M87 thinks we would all have a better mobile data experience if we’d just share our phones’ 4G connections with one another. Apparently Qualcomm agrees with them.

M87 has closed a $3 million Series A round of funding, which included new strategic investors Qualcomm Ventures(s qcom) and Chinese data center hosting provide 21Vianet along with M87’s original angel investors.

M87 founders (from left): VP Marketing Matt Hovis, CEO David Hampton, Chief Research Officer Vidur Bhargava and CTO Peter Feldman. M87 founders (from left): VP Marketing Matt Hovis, CEO David Hampton, Chief Research Officer Vidur Bhargava and CTO Peter Feldman.

M87 sprang out of the University of Texas’s wireless engineering department after developing a crowdsourced connectivity technology that allows nearby phones to link up via Wi-Fi and use each other 3G and 4G connections to the mobile network. The technology is similar to the crowd mesh-networking technology developed by another emerging networking startup Open Garden, but rather than offer it to consumers, M87 wants to…

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Looking for gold under a standard DRA

Peter Nas F5 Traffix

Peter Nas, Senior Solution Architect, F5 Networks

People have often told me that I should share some of the content of my discussions with customers. So here goes: while speaking to a customer I begin to reflect on why DRAs (Diameter Routing Agents) usually interest core network signaling engineers; it’s because they are the ones who are building the Diameter signaling network and require a solution for optimal network scaling. Our conversation focuses on how much more efficient, smarter, flexible, cost effectively, and securely we can manage the signaling load for Diameter messages and other protocols.

Most people who are involved in mobile broadband or LTE are not that interested in Diameter signaling. At least I find this to be true when I address Diameter directly in pure technical language. However, when I speak about what great things we can do by using the information contained in every signaling message, you get a complete different conversation, and an interested audience. Typically, when discussing Diameter signaling the interest is in terms of what a DRA and DEA (Diameter Edge Agent) should be able to do according 3GPP and GSMA specifications. But as there are now more vendors claiming to have a DRA/DEA (although only a few are actually deployed) … customers are usually surprised at the possibilities of adding services, increasing security, and optimizing the network when deploying a DRA.


Monetising LTE Data: Convert User Analytics into Revenue

Inna Ott, Director of Marketing, Polystar

Inna Ott, Director of Marketing, Polystar

The launch of LTE networks and the expected increased of data volume raises the possibility of unlocking greater returns for MNOs. The opportunity to use data that can be captured from mobile networks to inform business strategy and tactics, to improve customer experience and network efficiency and, ultimately drive new revenues, is too large to be ignored.

But things aren’t that simple. Data from LTE networks is useful and provides a potentially valuable resource, but on its own it is meaningless. Recent research counsels us to treat optimistic predictions of the value waiting to be uncovered with caution. Simply exposing increasing quantities of data doesn’t necessarily mean that we can secure insights that yield additional value. Of course, given the investments in LTE networks, MNOs need to maximise their returns. How can they begin to leverage this data and make it contribute to their future success? (more…)

IMS Roaming and Interoperability for VoLTE and RCS

Michel van Veen, Group Director, IPX, SAP

Michel van Veen, Group Director, IPX, SAP

With more than 200 LTE network deployments since 2010, the issue of isolated mobile networks is becoming more prevalent.

According to the GSMA, RCS (Rich Communication Services) adoption is also picking up pace with deployments in 11 countries, supported by 17 operators. This figure is expected to grow to 85 operators by next year.

Combining the Voice-over-IP capabilities of VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) with RCS enables operators to offer innovative multime­dia services with strong security and quality of service.


Combining both data and voice services on the same LTE data access network enables mobile operators to optimise network and service management, integrate network resources and simplify service delivery; this results in a significant reduction of operating expense.

This will make their operations easier and less expensive to manage. Operators will be able to pack more information into packets that go from consumer phones to operator cell towers—which is what enables consumers to send more data stream videos. This is vital at a time when the demand for data between consumers on mobile devices is accelerating at a phenomenal level.

The move to super-efficient networks means operators are able to offer new types of services such as video calling and high-definition content streaming. The benefit of offering VoLTE not only increases the possibility for mobile operators to offer better quality voice services, but also enables them to expand to other services such as rich communications. It also changes how they price and sell services to consumers.


Additionally, the evolution of RCS is about interconnecting operators over IPX to expand the consumer base. Regardless of network type, operators need to interoperate globally to offer quality services regardless of subscriber location.

Mobile operators will take advantage of the IPX and its IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) interconnect hubs to establish a global nextgen service.


Over the past few years, just over half (56%) of operators have moved to connect with IPX networks in order to meet heavy demand for 4G/LTE connectivity around the world. This uptake means faster, higher quality roaming capabilities for consumers and greater access to networks’ LTE spectrum offerings.

We’re committed to expanding the LTE roaming and interconnect community, and supporting mobile operators in providing a seamless global roaming experience for mobile subscribers.  Just last year we were the first to announce a standards-compliant IMS roaming and interconnect hub for IP-based services, including VoLTE and RCS. This will help to establish a global community in which subscribers can communicate beyond traditional voice and messaging services across any device, network and geography.

LTE LATAM 2014 logo

Join Michel van Veen at 13h00 on 30 April at LTE LATAM to hear more of his take on IMS Roaming and Interoperability for VoLTE and RCS.


Deploying Small Cell Systems with 3-D in Mind

- Amit Jain, Vice President of Product Management, SpiderCloud Wireless

– Amit Jain, Vice President of Product Management, SpiderCloud Wireless

Deploying dense and scalable indoor small cell systems is not straightforward. SpiderCloud’s experience shows the indoor RF environment gets increasingly complex and challenging as the density of the deployment increases. This is particularly true in multi-story buildings where mobile devices experience a three-dimensional (3D) RF environment. A single handset is able to see a very large number of small cells, some on its own floor and others from floors above and below it. The radio signal inside buildings experiences flat fading, which means that even a stationary handset sees signal from small cells fluctuate by 6-8 dB. Despite such variation in signal quality, a small cell RAN should remain stable and not drop calls, or experience throughput degradation.


Global VoLTE revenue to touch around $3 bn by 2017, says Infonetics Research


Infonetics Research projects that the VoLTE revenue is expected to reach around $3 billion by 2017, while VoLTE subscribers will be around $160 million during the period.

The number of global LTE subscribers is expected to more than quadruple to 755 million between 2013 and 2017, and the number of VoLTE subscribers to grow 17-fold during this same period, said Infonetics Research.

“The mobile broadband industry’s rapid migration to LTE has opened the door to malicious and non-malicious threats due to fundamental vulnerabilities in the all-IP LTE architecture. As the adoption of IPsec encryption for transporting LTE traffic continues to grow significantly, there is increasing need for security gateways,” said Stephane Teral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.

VoLTE subscriber and revenue chart from Infonetics

Recently, Heavy Reading research revealed that more than 70 percent of operators believe their existing policy control systems will require additional features or upgrades to meet the stringent requirements…

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The Skinny on U.S. 4G Data Speeds

POTs and PANs

Cell-Tower I am a statistic freak and I read any and all statistics I can find about the telecom industry. A lot of statistics are interesting but require a lot of heavy lifting to see what is going on beneath the numbers. But I ran across one set of statistics that sums up the problems of wireless 4G data in this country in a few simple numbers.

A company called OpenSignal has an app that people can use to measure the actual download speeds they see on LTE 4G networks. This app is used worldwide and so we can also compare the US to other parts of the world. In 2014 the comparisons were made from readings from 6 million users of the app.

The first interesting statistic is that the US came in 15th in the world in LTE speeds. In 2014 the US average download speed was a…

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Senior Project Manager, Orange Group: “The major drivers for 2014 are carrier aggregation, the flagship feature of LTE-A.”

Roman Lapszow, Senior Project Manager, Technical Strategy, Radio Networks and Microwaves, Orange Group

Roman Lapszow, Senior Project Manager, Technical Strategy, Radio Networks and Microwaves, Orange Group

Roman Lapszow, Senior Project Manager, Technical Strategy, Radio Networks and Microwaves, Orange Group is speaking on Day Two of the LTE MENA conference, taking place on the 11th-13th May 2014 at the at the Conrad, Dubai, UAE. Ahead of the show we speak to him about where the Orange network is heading in 2014 and where the focus is for upcoming developments.

How much impact will LTE-Advanced have on Orange’s networks in 2014?

The launch of LTE networks has brought a significant growth of data traffic and consumer interest. LTE is driving evolution in our networks and there is no doubt of the value of LTE. The only remaining question in markets where we have yet to launch is when and in what bands. As LTE-A is concerned, the majority of our efforts are focused on studies, evaluations and deployment of LTE-A. The major drivers for 2014 are carrier aggregation, the flagship feature of LTE-A, and to a lower extent coordinated multipoint processing (CoMP).



LTE World Summit – Preview video

Check out our preview video for the LTE World Summit 2014 from the halls of this year’s Mobile World Congress.

In this video we hear from:

  • Syniverse
  • Sub10 Systems
  • Etelm
  • Movius
  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • Genesis Technical Systems
  • Emotum
  • Ercom

Data Analytics in LTE Monetization

Suzanne Rankine

Suzanne Rankine
Conference Researcher, LTE World Series,
Informa Telecoms & Media

Operators that leverage the power of data analytics have a chance to uncover hidden revenue opportunities.

With a phone in almost every person’s pocket, it’s no surprise that mobile operators have access to huge amounts of subscriber data. Rather than just sitting on it though, thanks to the power of data analytics operators can uncover important insights into consumer behaviour. These insights can then be turned into targeted monetization opportunities and new revenue streams for operators.

For example, operators can analyse the data to find out the more about the services consumers are using, such as discovering the most popular OTT services, how they are using them, and by whom? They can assess how consumer trends vary from device to device, accurately predict the services individuals are most likely to pay more for and then offer these premium services to consumers. They can also track new service rollouts and monitor consumer experience to make services even more successful.


Sprint is building a bigger LTE network with the help of rural carriers


Sprint(s s) has teamed up with the Competitive Carrier Association and the NetAmerica Alliance to form a kind of LTE cabal. Sprint and rural carriers are joining together to build broad coverage networks through roaming agreements, cooperation on devices and even spectrum sharing.

At the CCA’s conference in San Antonio, Sprint announced it is working with the rural carrier association to create low-cost reciprocal roaming agreements with and among its members. The idea is each carrier’s customers will be able to move on and off each other’s LTE networks without racking up big data roaming fees.

regional mobile carrier Source: Shutterstock / Nneirda

No specific rural operators were announced in the deal, but if they choose to participate they’ll get access to Sprint’s growing LTE network in cities and towns. Meanwhile Sprint will be able to expand its footprint into parts of the country its mobile broadband network doesn’t touch.

Normally this…

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