Prior to the LTE Voice Summit (London, September 28th-30th), we interviewed Du’s senior core network Director Haitham Mashal about his views on the development of VoLTE, service planning and future opportunities. Here is what he had to say, ahead of his participation at this year’s summit.
Q. As we see the commercial launch, is there any clearer idea of whether VoLTE will truly live up to its promise?
A. No doubt VoLTE would even exceed its promise for both customers and Operators. Operators would have the chance to transform their networks into full fledge IP network and get the benefit of reducing both CAPEX and Opex. Operators would also be capable to offer better Voice quality with enriched services on top of the voice that can compete with OTT voice services.
Customers would enjoy the enriched crystal clear HD voice and shorter time setup. This would definitely enhance the customer experience and satisfy the customer demands to enjoy different services simultaneously even during call establishment.
Q. Can we expect to see new and innovative services built on top of plain audio VoLTE?
A. Yes indeed. Offering audio voice only is not an option for operators. Operators should be smart and offer innovative services -along with Voice- in order to satisfy customer needs. Many services would be offered on top of the audio voice such as file sharing, Location sharing, video sharing, etc… This would be achieved by launching RCS in parallel with VoLTE
Q. What is the future, beyond VoLTE? What are the next steps in network development?
A. Well, introducing Voice over WiFi will be most likely the next move for operators. Operators can leverage on the same Volte infrastructure to deliver VoWiFi . VoWiFi will help operators to extend their coverage seamlessly while offering the same services. Consumers and enterprise users will benefit from richer communication services, available on any devices and anywhere no matter the access network.
Video over LTE (ViLTE) would be another interesting service for the customers. ViLTE will enable customers to make HD video calls. Operators can offer ViLTE with extended supplementary services such as Video tones, video conferencing and video announcements that would enhance the customer experience and open new business opportunities
Q. Network Function Virtualization for VoLTE- what does this mean to you and is the way forward for this service?
NFV is a hot topic nowadays and many operators are interested to move forward and start the network transformation towards virtualized environment. In my point of view, NFV would help operators to introduce new services much faster and would simplify network operations and lower costs.
Du is one of the first operators in Middle East to deploy NFV in its network. Du has promising plan to virtualize many services including VoLTE this year.
Q. What will be your key message at the LTE Voice Summit 2015?
A. Moving towards VoLTE is a must; Operators can’t rely on classic voice anymore. Enriching the voice with other innovative services is the key for successful VoLTE deployment