Archive for the ‘RCS’ Category

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.

ROI

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.

RCS and VoLTE

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.

Commitment

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.

 

Preparing for VoLTE

LTE_VoiceSummit_2013At the end of last year, one of our top 5 predictions for LTE in 2013 was ‘VoLTE: Only fools rush in’ as we saw a couple operators push back their VoLTE deployment plans. Over halfway through the year, it seems operators are still taking their time with the technology but voice services have certainly started to gain traction and the industry at large is solidly behind VoLTE.

VoLTE has been filling up our news feeds recently; with Verizon revealing its plans to launch its first VoLTE handsets sometime this year and AT&T announcing its VoLTE service will go live in 2013. The technology is undoubtedly maturing but we’ve also seen a range of mixed messages such as ‘VoLTE is set to break out’ and ‘VoLTE off to a slow start’.  Despite growing interest and investment in the technology, there is clearly still much uncertainty and many issues to be addressed.  

The demand for clarity and collaboration in the market is evident and the LTE Voice Summit on 1st-2nd October 2013 in London plans to provide just that, bringing together the greatest minds in voice services to realise the opportunities and manage the challenges of next generation voice offerings.

(more…)

Interview: CTIO, Etisalat, UAE: “Applications that enhance the customer experience will help us monetise our investments.”

Marwan Zawaydeh is the CTIO of Etisalat, UAE.

Marwan Zawaydeh is the CTIO of Etisalat, UAE.

Marwan Zawaydeh is the CTIO of Etisalat, UAE. He will be speaking on Day Two of the LTE World summit taking place on the on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to him about the latest developments in LTE in the region and learn more about his views on RCS, roaming and LTE monetisation. 

We spoke to you this time last year. How has your LTE network developed since then?  

These were very exciting 12 months for Etisalat and for our customers, and we are looking forward to build on this success to continue to lead innovation in the region and provide our customers the latest in technology. We were able to significantly enhance LTE coverage, which has now reached 80 per cent of the populated area. Coverage will be further enhanced further this year as the number of deployed sites will double. We were also able to bring a very rich portfolio of LTE terminals which includes dongles, a Mi-Fi, and popular smartphones from Apple, Samsung, and Blackberry. We were able to secure exclusive deals with these top manufacturers and were able to provide our customers with very attractive packages. This resulted in significant growth of our mobile data traffic as our customers adopted LTE enthusiastically. This has resulted in a significant increase in the ARPU from our mobile customers.

Can you give me examples of a couple of your biggest challenges that you faced?

The first challenge we had was to provide proper coverage to our LTE customers. We started with the 2.6GHz band because it was the only band available at the time. This gave us regional leadership in LTE until enough spectrum in the 1.8GHz band became available.  Another big challenge was the fragmentation of the LTE global deployment and the difficulty in bringing a comprehensive LTE eco-system to our customers. We had to expedite the introduction of the 1.8GHz band to be able to provide our customers the best-in-class LTE smart phones and LTE devices.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

How do you meet the challenge of offering good value to the consumer and at the same time monetising your investments?

This challenge can only be met when investments result in superior customer experience and access to new and innovative products and services. Fortunately, LTE is all about providing our mobile customers much higher throughput, lower latency, and an overall superior customer experience. But this wouldn’t be possible unless we looked at our network end-to-end. Many operators struggle in backhauling LTE traffic and that results in a deteriorated customer experience. Etisalat had a vision several years ago to invest heavily in the fibre network as a converged and future-proof platform. The UAE is currently number one globally in deep fibre deployment because of Etisalat. Our fibre-rich network enabled us to provide GigE connectivity to all our mobile sites to provide an unmatched customer experience. At the same time, continuing to flatten the network architecture helped us enhance the cost effectiveness of our deployment and significantly enhance the overall delivered value to our customers. Applications that enhance the customer experience will help us monetise our investments.

An example of that is eLifeTV, which provides our customers with access to live HD channels and HD video content. We are finding it to be very popular in our market and now we have the platform to enable it we will continue to introduce similar services.

How important is LTE roaming for your customers and what are the challenges in enabling it?

UAE has a unique characteristic of a huge expat population that roam a lot so it is important to facilitate LTE roaming as early as possible, but there are several challenges that still remain.

Current roaming agreements do not provide the required QoS, SLA, and security requirements for enriched LTE services. Etisalat is in the process of deploying an IPX Hub to enhance the roaming capabilities,not only for data traffic, but also for high value voice and rich communication services in the future. Etisalat’s goal is not only to provide roaming to customers in our local market but to become a roaming hub for other operators as well.

What are your plans for RCS-based services and are you excited about them?

We believe enriched services such as RCS are the future and we are actively exploring various options of introducing RCS services as part of our portfolio of innovative products and services. Actually, we already have the required back-end system, which will ensure a fast time to market. We are working with our marketing team to determine the right market-entry strategy for these services in UAE.

Why is the best thing for you about attending the LTE World Summit?

We are always keen on attending the LTE World Summit to share our experience and learn from other leading operators. The telecom industry is very dynamic and mobile technology is evolving fast. Etisalat takes pride in consistently taking a leadership in the MENA region and providing our customers with the most innovative technologies and best in class products and services. Attending the LTE World Summit helps us travel fast through the experience curve via engagement with the top operators and vendors in the industry.

Interview: President, Network Group, Korea Telecom: “Carrier aggregation will enable us to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities.”

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom

Seong-Mook Oh, President, Network Group, Korea Telecom, South Korea is delivering an opening keynote speech on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we get a comprehensive update on KT’s cutting-edge LTE deployment and why its CCC architecture brings it a competitive advantage.

What major developments have there been with regards to the LTE industry in your region this past year?

In the past year KT’s LTE network covered 99 per cent of the population in Korea. The traffic volume of our LTE networks has surpassed that of our 3G network, even though the only a quarter of KT’s subscribers are on LTE. This impressive deployment has been accomplished over the past year using the CCC (Cloud Communication Center) architecture, the most simple network deployment architecture, as far as I know. In the CCC architecture, all the RUs (Radio Unit) are connected to DU (Digital Unit) pools located in the centralisation center via through optic cores. The signals from multiple RUs are processed all together to optimise the radio performance and mitigate the inter-cell interference. To introduce more carriers in the near future, the optic cores and DU processing pools will be reused and RUs will be installed at a local cell site via the plug-in method. In addition, KT launched a VoLTE and PSVT (Packet Switched Video Telephony) service, which provides the HD-Voice and HD-Video service.

What are the chief technical challenges you are facing?

LTE is very sensitive to inter-cell interference due to the nature of OFDM-based systems. In a conventional architecture inter-cell interference control has limitations due to the delay and low speed between eNodeBs. KT’s CCC is a radical solution designed to resolve these inter-cell interference problems. However, the growing demand for higher data rates and the increase of LTE subscribers requires additional solutions such as carrier aggregation and femtocells. Through our close collaboration with several vendors we are trying to discover the optimal solutions. Our so-called “Connect & Development” method is focused on inter-eNodeB cooperation, which is the basis for carrier aggregation and HetNet technology.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

Most of our customers’ dissatisfaction comes from cell-edge regions where the QoS is very low, due to the inter-cell interference, causing missed or dropped calls. In order to enhance cell-edge performance we have introduced new techniques named “JT (Joint Transmission)” and “CS (Coordinated Scheduling)”. These two technologies reduce inter-cell interference, but should be selectively used according to the network load. In the case of heavy traffic load, we should mainly focus on CS and in the case of low traffic, JT is beneficial as it improves throughput by increasing the signal strength. All these procedures come under the umbrella of SON (Self Optimized Network) technology.

Is VoLTE part of your plans and what benefits will it bring both to operators and consumers?

We have already commercialised VoLTE services. The “Idle to Active” time in 3G networks is about 2-3 seconds, and therefore the call set-up time for mobile-to-mobile is about 4-6 seconds. However, in LTE networks, the “Idle to Active” time is less than 100ms. Therefore, if you make a VoLTE call, the called party will respond within 1 second as well as it will make a connection to network within 100ms. In addition, the high voice quality of AMR-WB using 23kbps is very attractive to our customers. When using CSFB as an interim solution for voice service, PS calls also uses 3G networks during the voice calls causing user inconvenience due to the low 3G data speed. From the operator viewpoint, VoLTE will make it easy to reach an all-IP service, which will reduce the OPEX compared to conventional infrastructures.

Pricing for LTE is a controversial subject. Are operators getting it right?

ARPU of 3G smartphone users is $40. However, an ARPU of LTE user is about $50. That is, with LTE networks we can expect ARPU increase by 20 per cent. Recently, KT commercialised an LTE Unlimited price plan at $95 compared to the unlimited 3G data service tariffs that start from $54. However, there are many concerns regarding unlimited price plans on LTE. That policy was driven mainly by the competitive market situation in South Korea.

Do you think that LTE offers great opportunities for monetisation or does it present challenges?

One opportunity for LTE is its high-data rate and low latency, which guarantees QoS for streaming and interactive services. Content is easily accessible with LTE smartphones and “virtual goods” can be monetised and delivered via LTE networks. For example, we can provide a better or guaranteed QoS for users viewing adverts. New LTE-based services such as eMBMS and RCS also offer an opportunity for monetisation. KT is preparing for eMBMS pre-commercial services within this year. However, if operators lose the right to control QoS due to the regulation issues, operators will face some challenges for sustainable growth and should make an effort to develop a new ICT (Information Communication Technology) business model.

In order to offer a more competitive service than the OTT players KT is leveraging CCC for ICT business. CCC is a kind of domain-specific cloud technology, based on virtualisation. By unifying the platform for radio and several application services into CCC, we can provide cross-layer optimised services between applications and radio. For example, we can utilise user contexts such as user ID, traffic content, QoS, location, and the radio environment to provide the most suitable service to our customers. I expect that all these services will offer a great monetisation opportunity to mobile network operators.

Where do small cells fit into your plans?

Most of KT’s mobile network infrastructure already consists of small cells. This is because the small cell is key to meeting capacity demands and removes coverage holes in a cost effective way. With the advent of smartphones and the exponential growth of data traffic, CCC-based small cells for 3G and 4G have been playing a significant role. The inter-site distance of these small cells is no more than 100m in Seoul, whereas the coverage of macro cell in rural areas is around 1-2km.

As an in-building solution KT has developed business femtocells, targeting both data offloading for capacity and in-building coverage. The business femtocells have been deployed at public places such as cafe and markets for public subscribers. We are currently developing a home femtocell and will introduce some calling plans for private subscribers. Following mass deployment, we expect more than 10 per cent of traffic will be off-loaded to femtocells in the near future, compared to the current data off-load of less than one per cent. In addition, the business and home femtocells will co-operate with CCC to reduce the inter-cell interference.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

From the viewpoint of network development, KT plans to introduce inter-band carrier aggregation and expand the system bandwidth up to 20MHz from 10MHz. This will enable us to double the maximum date rate to compete with wired broadband and generate new business opportunities for all the mobile related industries such as M2M, streaming and cloud services.

 This year, our evolved CCC network (LTE WARP Advanced) will support advanced CoMP technology. A DM-RS (Demodulation Reference Signal) based on JT (Joint Transmission) technology will expand the JT areas into the cell edge using the different PCIs (Physical Cell ID). Furthermore, CS (Coordinated Scheduling) will be expanded into the heterogeneous network with the component of CCC-based small cell solutions such as picocell and femtocell through an X2 interface.

 From the viewpoint of service development, KT will introduce application and radio converged services provided in CCC. For example, accessed information is frequently kept in CCC that is physically and logically closer to the user side. By reducing the amount of traffic on EPC, WAN links, and overburdened Web servers, caching provides significant benefits to reduce TCO and service delays. I expect that more application services such as LBS based smart dialling and local community services will be accommodated in CCC in future.

Interview: Director, Rich Communication Services, Telefonica, Spain “Internet OTT’s contribution to the industry is very positive.”

Javier Arenzana Arias, director Rich Communication Services, Telefonica, Spain

Javier Arenzana Arias, director Rich Communication Services, Telefonica, Spain

Javier Arenzana Arias, director Rich Communication Services, Telefonica, Spain is speaking at the LTE Operator Mind Share, part of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th June at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we get an insight into how Telefonica is confident that RCS services will enable the industry to confidently compete with OTT services.

Can you give us an update of where Telefónica is with RCS services?

Telefonica has been one of main contributors to the development of RCS across the industry and the success of RCS is essential to extend our core interoperable services into the advanced formats that our customers demand. We have been a leading member of the initiatives at the GSMA, shaping the strategic opportunity [the RCS provides] and defining the service specifications and roadmap. The Telefonica Group launched an Joyn RCS service in Spain in 2011, along with Vodafone and Orange and, along with our main competitors, it will launch it in the coming months in Germany. In Latin America we are participating in several multi-operator roundtables in order to align our views about the opportunity of a joint launch with the other MNOs in the region.

What are the chief technical challenges you are facing with regards to RCS?

The technical challenges we face when we launched Joyn in Spain were simply those related to the implementation of any new interoperable technology. All participants in the ecosystem had to learn together about the technology, developing their respective clients and application servers without the support of a reference implementation to validate their work. Now there are several reference implementations on networks, and many devices that have been accredited that are providing the service in an interoperable manner among several operators, with downloadable applications and native devices. Operators deploying Joyn can now use these reference solutions for their roll-outs.

The LTE Operator Mind Share is taking place on the morning of Day One of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

The OTT players have the advantage of cross platform but Facebook Home is now looking to offer device integration too. Can Joyn be a timely and effective response to this?

Internet OTTs contribution to the industry is very positive. They have developed very compelling services and will continue promoting innovation. Operators have a different service proposition and capabilities to leverage. RCS gives us the option to provide differential value to our customers – a universal communications upgrade. Such a transition will take time, for sure, but will result in a solid service offering.

Please tell me more about why attending the LTE Summit is so important for Telefónica.

Awareness of the strategic opportunities for the telco industry is an essential to take the next steps to evolve the ecosystem. The LTE World Summit gives us an excellent opportunity to share our views with the rest of the operators on the transition towards the next generation networks and our future all-IP services.

Service quality assurance manager, VIPnet, Croatia: “Cloud is a major opportunity for operators to avoid simply becoming bit-pipes.”

Hrvoje Jerkovic, service quality assurance manager, VIPnet, Croatia

Hrvoje Jerkovic, service quality assurance manager, VIPnet, Croatia

Hrvoje Jerkovic, service quality assurance manager, VIPnet, Croatia, is speaking on Day One of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about his views on various topics, including cloud, RCS, and VoLTE.

What major developments have there been with regards to the LTE industry in your region this past year?

VIPnet launched LTE commercially in March 2012 and currently we provide LTE in four major cities, making up almost 50 per cent of the country’s population coverage. The fact that we have widely available dual-carrier 3G on 2100 MHz for several years, offering speeds up to 42MBps, makes LTE a logical next step technology but it’s not a quantum leap.

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

Despite moderate LTE coverage our top customers with state-of-the-art smartphones should benefit from it whenever possible. In terms of network optimisation, in particular VIPnet has recognised the importance of smooth handovers between 3G and 4G networks in idle as well as in dedicated mode. LTE brings an additional challenge on 800MHz because there is no 3G layer, which makes handover from 2G to 4G and vice versa, even more interesting for operators to solve.

 The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Why do you think that cloud services are now so important for telcos?

The cloud is really being hyped right now by operators as it is a good story to cover the real issues. Cloud is all about reducing costs by merging a number of utilities into one cost-efficient environment that delivers a secure and reliable service, and it is something that operators can offer to their customers. A few years ago it was called hosting, but now it has evolved. Cloud is a major opportunity for operators to avoid simply becoming bit-pipes.

Do you believe that RCS services can genuinely help the industry compete with OTT?

OTT players are gaining ground but for the huge majority of customers we are still “service providers”, and adopting RCS services is the next step in the evolution of telcos. Giving customers new ways of communication, in combination with good marketing will lead to a success story. The biggest issue with RCS is that is taking a long time to get to market and is in danger of dying before it starts, but maybe it still has a chance.

Is VoLTE part of your plans and what benefits will it bring both to operators and consumers?

Since we are the premium operator in the Croatian market, our promise to customers is to support all features they might need. As far as VoLTE is concerned we have been providing our customers with an HD Voice service for over two years. However, in conjunction with the development of handsets that support it we will implement VoLTE. We have to be very careful with the customer perception of VoLTE because they must find some significant value in it in order to accept it. It is very unlikely that VoLTE will find its way to the market merely because it is a new technology.

Should operators charge a premium for LTE just because it’s a faster service?

Investment in LTE requires that significant resources so therefore it’s expected that a premium charge should be applied. However, LTE should not only be faster but, according to standards, offer a quality level that guaranteed to be better than 3G.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

There are several technologies that will shape LTE in near future and one of them is heterogeneous networks. With higher bandwidth we can expect an even higher signalling load on the network, which is challenging to handle and control. The other will be controlling roaming pricing. Since Croatia is a very tourist oriented country, and will very soon become a full member of EU, it is our obligation to fully apply all the regulations regarding roaming pricing.

Interview: VP product development, Technocentre, Orange: “The combination of RCS, LTE and VoLTE means that customers will have no reason to go elsewhere for their communications.”

Pierre François Dubois, VP product development, Technocentre, Orange, France

Pierre François Dubois, VP product development, Technocentre, Orange, France

Pierre François Dubois, VP product development, Technocentre, Orange, France is speaking on ‘Maximising the benefits of LTE with RCS’ on Day One of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to him about how RCS will both benefit consumers and help to maximise operator revenue.

Your talk is on maximising the benefits of RCS and VoLTE for the customer. However, consumers already have effective voice and OTT apps. Can you highlight what the benefits of using these will be?

There are three key benefits for customers. Firstly, RCS will be adopted by all mobile operators, which means that everyone’s friends will have access to a rich and reliable set of services. They will not need to be invited and then download an app – it will just be there. Secondly, RCS also provides a fantastic eco-system for app developers, as well as providing them a massive audience for their apps and services. Customers will therefore be able to enhance their lives with all sorts of fun and productivity applications with real-time sharing. Thirdly, VoLTE completes the picture by transferring voice communications to IP thus ensuring that all the RCS sharing and communications features can be done simultaneously with voice and video calls, and all at Telco quality. The combination of RCS, LTE and VoLTE means that customers will have no reason to go elsewhere for the social or business communications.

How can operators make best use of RCS services to increase revenues?

Market research tells us that customers are happy to buy extra data bundles for services which add value to their lives. This is what we already do with specific applications like Deezer or Orange consumer cloud. Mobile data usage will therefore drive revenues in the future. With this objective in mind, RCS provides a core set of IP based communication services and APIs that are designed to stimulate data usage and this is why RCS APIs are important for our future. For example, video applications can leverage these APIs for the benefits of both parties. Social networks can also contribute to this objective, but I believe MNOs must have their own growth engine to better control their business model.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

Will VoLTE be an upsell to consumers or will it just be a transparent service for consumers with a transition that occurs in the background.

VoLTE will simply replace circuit switched voice and, whilst it certainly brings a better experience, I don’t believe it will be an upsell to consumers. VoIP and RCS over LTE together will provide a great customer experience with many added-value applications and together drive data usage and revenues.

What do you think will be the most critical development in LTE over the next six to 12 months?

I think that until recently, most MNOs have worked on RCS, LTE and VoLTE projects with different timelines. Nevertheless we need to anticipate, not only technically, the fact that we are migrating to IP communications. I foresee two important challenges:

  • RCS over LTE with seamless switching  and continuity of sessions when switching between 4G/3G/Wifi/2G
  • Convergence between RCS and VoLTE as a consistent service platform. Orange strongly supports the initiative launched recently by the GSMA to address this point.

Please tell me why coming to the LTE World Summit is so important for yourself and for Orange and why it’s a great event.

LTE is a true revolution for our industry. It is always difficult to guess what will come out of a revolution and in our case a lot of uncertainties remain for the future of our business model. I think this event is a unique opportunity to share possible scenarios both on technical and marketing aspects with experts in our industry. As it takes place in Europe, where competition is very fierce, I expect the presentation and the debates to help us better shape the future.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: