Archive for October, 2014

Antenna Solutions Play a Crucial Role in Network Capacity Improvement

Kevin Linehan, VP and CTO, CommScope

Kevin Linehan, VP and CTO, CommScope

This post is by Kevin Linehan, VP and CTO Antenna Systems, CommScope

According to a GSMA Intelligence study, global LTE connections will hit the 1-billion mark by 2017 and Asia will account for almost half, or 47 percent of that. The demand for high speed connections and rich media experience is keeping operators on their toes and constantly upgrading and building more efficient LTE networks. As operators work towards keeping high levels of subscriber satisfaction, network coverage and capacity becomes utmost concern.

I have been in the telecommunications industry for nearly three decades and these developments are extremely exciting.  At the LTE Asia Conference, which took place from September 24-25 in Singapore, I was happy to share a presentation titled “Antennas Solutions for Capacity Improvement” in which I addressed concerns related to maximizing network capacity and developing unified industry standards for base-station antennas.


Network Sharing:  African Telecoms’ Newest Growth Story

This post is by Terry Young, Director of Marketing, Stoke

LTE network sharing is on the rise, encouraged by regulators to speed penetration of advanced broadband and increasingly adopted by operators to improve the economics of entering or expanding their LTE base.

The LTE industry in Africa has grown steadily over the last few years, but slowing revenue growth, increasing costs and shareholders demanding returns are forcing operators to consider the next wave of investment. Over-the-top services are gaining traction in Africa as smartphone usage grows, but the willingness to pay among consumers is limited, and enabling payment is also an ongoing challenge. Mobile money continues to be an area of intense interest for the region, and for service providers, given the size of the opportunity among the unbanked.


If You Can Scale Small Cells Inside, then Service IT: Small Cell Services at the Enterprise Edge

Ronny Haraldsvik, CMO/SVP, SpiderCloud Wireless

Ronny Haraldsvik, SVP/CMO, SpiderCloud Wireless

At the heart of SpiderCloud’s scalable 3G/4G small cell system is the Services Node (SCSN), a “local” control point for the small cell network deployed inside the enterprise over existing Ethernet. It’s also where the enterprise edge meets the mobile operators edge network. The small-cell system can provide cellular capacity and coverage to over 1.5 million sq.ft. of space and support for 10,000 voice and data subscribers.

Beyond coverage and capacity, after credibility has been established with the IT department, the Services Node is a strategic point of entry into the enterprise IT environment for mobile operators and business partners to service IT, and a potential great revenue opportunity.


LBO or not, I want to break out… (Part II)

This is Part II of Peter Nas’ blog post on local break out technology


Peter Nas serves as Senior Solution Architect at F5 Networks and draws from more than 20 years of telecom experience to advise operators how to leverage Diameter signaling solutions to enable the optimal LTE experience. Peter joined F5 with the company’s acquisition of Traffix where he was responsible for global business development.  Prior to joining Traffix, he worked at Tekelec focusing on market development for Diameter and SIP routing. In his days before Tekelec, he served as Core Network Engineering Manager at a prominent mobile operator in the Netherlands.

In my last blog post, I began looking at the slow progress for the deployment of LBO (local breakout) technology that will reduce mobile roaming revenues. In this post, I will suggest various ways to leverage LBO to offset the reduction in roaming revenues.

One interesting aspect of LBO is that the signaling for two additional Diameter interfaces, S9 for policy and Gy for charging, could be exchanged between visited and home networks, and if so, this will be done via an IPX network as per GSMA guidelines (IR.88). There are different views on whether or not using the S9 interface to exchange policy information between the visited PCRF and home PCRF, will be massively used once LBO is offered, but let’s assume it will be used. In this case, an IPX carrier can offer various services around Diameter interworking, security and perhaps also screening, overload control, prioritization and potentially adapting policy rules and more.


LBO or not, I want to break out… (Part I)

This post is by Peter Nas, Senior Solution Architect, F5 Networks

Peter Nas, Senior Soltuion Architect, F5 Networks

Peter Nas, Senior Solution Architect, F5 Networks


For over ten years, the technology to offer local breakout (commonly known as LBO) has existed, allowing data use by roaming customers to be supported by the visited operator’s network. This is in contrast to the scenario in which data requests are sent back to the roamer’s home network, which of course, results in higher costs. However, despite the obvious fact that many people would like to get lower data roaming rates, a wish not limited to Europeans traveling in the EU, sadly it is not offered yet.



Operators ‘VoLTE’ over the OTT competition

Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless

Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless

This post is by Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless

“Mobile comms consultancy Northstream reckons European telcos are missing out on over €2 billion in potential profits that could come from effectively partnering with Internet players generally referred to as OTTs,” reported recently.

Over-the-top (OTT) providers are a big and painful thorn in the side of telcos around the world. Couple this with the growth of 4G and dramatically increased data speeds, and we see how fast the competitive landscape is changing. Now, with Voice over LTE (VoLTE), mobile operators have the power to change it and vault over the competition.

VoLTE gives operators a chance to fight back by providing a native product with the promise of a significantly better user experience. In the process it can solve a lot of operators’ OTT-related challenges. An all-IP technology combines LTE with IMS to efficiently deliver a full suite of services such as IM, video chat, HD voice, presence, and group chat — all opportunities for carriers to differentiate themselves from OTT providers.

In North America, for example, where unlimited voice is the norm, there isn’t as much incentive for subscribers to use OTT voice except for when dialing or traveling internationally. Data or messaging OTT solutions are a different story. However, VoLTE is far from straightforward to deploy and presents operators with a new set of obstacles that are unlike anything they’ve experienced before, especially when it comes to optimising the Radio Access Network (RAN).

Earlier in 2014, several operators delayed their commercial VoLTE launches, citing RAN issues as the cause. The bigger challenge is that VoLTE, and LTE in general, has irreversibly changed subscriber access to mobile services. Engineers that have spent decades perfecting the RAN for traditional voice communications are now faced with the rise of 4G smartphones, all-IP applications and new ways for devices to interact with the core network, which all take time to deploy and test. Given the current transformed network environment, it’s no surprise OTT players have encroached so heavily on voice and messaging revenues – operators haven’t yet been able to fight back, and archaic network testing process is to blame.

With the size and multi-dimensions of today’s mobile networks, legacy solutions like drive testing are incomplete, expensive and time consuming, particularly for deploying products and introducing new devices. New big data-based tools make it simpler and more cost effective to roll out new services. When operators see network and subscriber-level data before a major technology upgrade, they establish a baseline. Big data solutions make this possible. Then, operators can rely on ongoing analytics to see the real-time impact of changes they make to the network, to identify and resolve performance issues as soon as they occur. This is vital for a successful VoLTE launch.

VoLTE deployments are set to double in the next 12 months, according to a September report published by the GSA. The report also indicates engineers are resolving the complexities of managing LTE deployments and are in a position to more effectively compete with OTT players. They need to be. Drive testing alone simply won’t work with VoLTE.

For operators launching VoLTE, subscribers will only be happy if the service is seamless, works well and doesn’t cost them more. Operators need to provide that while focusing on their additional priorities, such as rapid and seamless launch, low operational costs and minimized complexity and challenges associated with deployment. This is essential at launch and on an ongoing basis, as OTT services cannot compete with VoLTE when networks become heavily loaded.

VoLTE is still a young concept, but can be a vital competitive asset. And even though it’s not getting as much attention as bendgate, all new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6-Plus devices come VoLTE-enabled.

It’s only a matter of time before more devices launch with VoLTE, so the time to act is now. Is your network ready for VoLTE?

About the author:  Marc Bensadoun is founder and CEO of Newfield Wireless, a Tektronix Communications company and leader in RAN geoanalytics. For more information, please visit

Interview: CEO, MTC Namibia: “In terms of maintaining business mobile sustainability into the future the price-per-gigabyte is critical.”

Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia

Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia

Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC Namibia is speaking on the subject of LTE launch strategies in Africa at the second annual LTE Africa conference, taking place on the 11th-13th November 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa.

You’ve already launched LTE in Namibia? What have you learned from the experience?

Indeed, MTC launched LTE in May 2012, with an aim to increase speed and capacity, especially for mobile broadband users (dongles and routers), as well as the new smartphone users. MTC’s strategy since 2008 was to compete in the broadband market, first using 3G, and thereafter LTE to fight against ADSL. To become the market leader in the broadband segment using mobile pushed MTC to deliver a more efficient service in terms of speed and latency against the fixed services, and against WiMAX in the wireless. But as a third of the customer base was already using advanced smartphones, not providing LTE was not an option.

What makes launching LTE in Namibia different and more challenging than doing so in Europe?


LTE Voice hits the right notes

In its second year, the LTE Voice 2014 conference proved to be a hit from the off, with standing room only in the hall for the opening keynotes.


Starting us off, Philippe Lucas, senior vice president for standardization and eco-systems development at Orange delivered an overview of the carrier’s views of VoLTE and noted that legacy networks were holding it back, and that it wants to move to an all-IP more quickly.  He also said that while carriers were confident after launching VoLTE, many were first launching voice over Wi-Fi first.


He also made the claim that Apple’s support for Voice over Wi-Fi demonstrated a “lack of confidence in FaceTime,” which seems a bit of a bold statement. It does indicate that Apple sees the importance of carrier-grade technology, but it remains to be seen if FaceTime will die a death.


When it comes to VoLTE, no one has more experience that the South Korean operators and Joong-Gunn Park of SK Telecom’s Network Technology R&D Center was up next. SK Telecom markets its VoLTE offering as HD Voice, which shows exactly where it believes the emphasis lies. Park said its users were very satisfied with VoLTE, highlighting the upgrade in voice quality, the speed of connection and the ability to browse during calls as major benefits. It also presented a number of new service opportunities that VoLTE provides, such as including call spam filters and yellow pages integration.


Later on at the conference LTEU+ was also up on stage demoing the UI of using the phone and multitasking in action – for the rest of the world it’s a taste of the future. One particular use case that stood out was the ability to screen share and share the view of the camera while on a call – enabling users feel ‘more connected’.

Vendor Amdocs took to the stage, and its view was that VoLTE was a genuine opportunity to create a real service experience and monetize it. Examples given were to provide a ‘turbo’ button that would enable a user to upload content at an event such as a concert where normally they would not get service due to congestion. It was all about building “business agility to create interesting scenarios.”


This contrasted with the panel session, with two operators, SK Telecom and Orange, and two vendors, Metaswitch and Opencloud, who all agree that VoLTE itself was not about monetization – but was about the services that were built on top of it to create user value, increase satisfaction and reduce churn. However, there was some disagreement about the role of APIs. While SK Telecom has earlier championed them its presentation, Francois Dubois, VP product development at Orange and Piers Finlayson, vice president of product management for Metaswich agreed that opening up APIs were crucial to create more value and revenue.  However, Mark Windle, head of marketing for OpenCloud was less sure describing ‘relying’ on third-parties to create value as “an exercise in waiting to get lucky.” As ever in life, a combined approach would seem to be the most sensible way forward.


In the morning we also got to hear Oracle’s vision of direct monetization from VoLTE, Huawei showing us that the KPI for VoLTE were superior to that of circuit switch calls, and Sprint, who explained that the low data rates for VoLTE meant that performance could be maintained even at the cell edge.

Overall, positivity was the take away from the morning session, and there was a sense of satisfaction that carriers are increasingly getting their collective acts together regarding VoLTE.



Be sure to follow the rest of the conversation on Twitter via the hash tag #LTEVoice



Five Myths about VoLTE

Manasa Agaram, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

Manasa Agaram, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

This post is by Manasa Agaram, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

Myths give us a nice story, but when it comes to VoLTE, here are five you can disregard.

There is no shortage of industry discussion around voice over LTE (VoLTE).  Some service providers, such as AT&T and Verizon Wireless, have announced launch plans while more are planning trials and proof of concepts this year, as evidenced by our conversations with customers.

Service providers are looking towards VoLTE to provide an innovative and differentiated HD voice experience that will enable them to compete and partner with over-the-top (OTT) alternatives. At Amdocs, we’ve been working with a number of service providers around VoLTE and it’s clear to us that VoLTE is not well understood, in particular when it comes to a fundamental capability such as policy and charging control (PCC).

We’ve uncovered five common myths that service providers need to be mindful of when evaluating their PCC needs for VoLTE. As in any myth, there is often some truth behind it but most often, it’s not the full picture!

Myth #1 – VoLTE is just another use case.

Not exactly. There is tremendous complexity in the set up and tear-down of a VoLTE call, with the right quality of service (QoS) assigned in real time. You will likely have numerous VoLTE-enabled devices on your network. What about the ability to negotiate QoS on a per device basis, based on the device codec’s capability? When it comes to VoLTE trials, there are at least 20 use cases that will need to be tested. (more…)

Putting the pieces in place to make VoLTE work

Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

This post is by Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

There are over 300 LTE deployments around the world, each promising a better, faster and more engaging connected mobile experience. While LTE has brought great advancements with regards to fast data speeds, HD video availability, mobile shopping and gaming, by and large it has not lived up to the hype on voice.

Voice over LTE, or VoLTE should mean conversations in high definition, crystal clear video calls, and easy transitions into text messaging. Consumers should be able to see which of their contacts are available and which aren’t through their contact list, not through a voice message on the other end of the line. Mobile phones were originally designed to facilitate talk, so why have only under seven per cent of all LTE Service providers begun offering VoLTE services to their customers?


The LTE revolution has only just begun and networks try to catch up


As networks expand LTE coverage and close down 2G systems, a lot of service providers will have to overhaul their businesses

cellphone tower

Companies relying on M2M communications will face tough choices by the end of the decade. Most wireless modules that provide security surveillance, industrial automation, environmental monitoring, energy management, pet tracking and whole slate of other applications will become obsolete as 2G networks, which date back to the late-1990s, are shut down around the world. Modules in devices embedded in buildings and machinery, as well as those in mobile devices, will have to be switched out. “It’s absolutely a painful, painful process,” says Kieran McNamara, manager of technical sales for global M2M & Internet of Things partnerships at Rogers.

Still, companies that play their cards right can leverage the newer networks for better applications and more efficient communications. The question is when and how to make the move.

Industry watchers…

View original post 640 more words

Interview: Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom: “The “killer app” is, and will continue to be good quality voice.”

Christian Menini, Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom

Christian Menini, Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom

Christian Menini, Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom is giving a real life case study about Swisssom’s LTE deployment on Day One of the LTE Voice Summit, taking place on October 7th-8th 2014 at the Royal Garden Hotel, London.

What are you expecting and hoping for from the commercial launch on VoLTE?

The commercial launch of VoLTE, which we are aiming for next year at Swisscom as well, really does have the potential to get the ball rolling. With VoLTE, the MNP are completing the technological change that will enable them to further develop mobile voice communication, as one of their most important assets, and reposition it.

I believe the good old “voice service” may experience a small “renaissance”. Over the past few years voice has been forced into the background by all of the new communication forms. But I’m convinced: Voice is not only noise.

As we approach commercial launch is there any clearer idea of whether VoLTE will truly compete or will it just complement OTT services?


The Brain behind Voice Quality

Amir Zmora, VP Alliances and Partnerships for AudioCodes.

Amir Zmora, VP Alliances and Partnerships for AudioCodes.

This post is by Amir Zmora, VP Alliances and Partnerships, AudioCodes, and Barry Spielman, head of Analyst Relations, AudioCodes

 Voice quality is a topic anyone dealing with VoIP knows is important and complex. Regardless if your expertise is on the client or server side, if your product is touching the media, you know that this requires constant work as there is always something to improve.

When calls traverse between different types of networks, things can get tricky due to the different network characteristics and the need to mitigate these differences. This issue will be the focus on my presentation at the upcoming LTE Voice Summit in London. I also covered it in detail in my post 3 Things Required for Managing Cross Network Voice Quality.

In this post, I want to talk about the voice enhancement tools available, those tools that would run and be dynamically utilized in the core network element, the “brain” of voice enhancement as I described it in that post.  So I highly recommend that you read that post for the sake of completeness of information.


How to simplify the VoLTE routing and control complexity

Pieter Veenstra - NetNumber

Pieter Veenstra, Lead Solution Architect, NetNumber

This post is by Pieter Veenstra, Lead Solution Architect, NetNumber

After a long wait mobile operators worldwide are testing and launching the long expected VoLTE services in their high-speeds LTE data networks now the VoLTE enabled smart phones spread the market in big numbers. With this, customers are finally offered a carrier grade voice app that offers the same comfort and trust to which they have become accustomed to with circuit-switched mobile voice services.


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