Posts tagged ‘CSFB’

VoLTE – Why it’s Imperative for LTE

Kaushal Sarasia, Assistant Manager, Marketing for Aricent.

Kaushal Sarasia, Wireless marketing for Aricent.

This post is by Kaushal Sarasia, Assistant Manager, Marketing for Aricent.

While LTE has established itself as the technology of choice to cater to the ever increasing demand for bandwidth one of the key challenges it faces is voice.

Given that LTE is an all IP network, the challenge is to provide seamless continuity for voice and video calls while using packets. The complexity means that operators are choosing to provide voice services via circuit switching by falling back to their legacy networks. This method of Circuit Switch Fall Back (CSFB) however, is rapidly falling out of favour as operators now want to leverage the full benefit of LTE by providing high definition voice/video services over LTE.

VoLTE not only helps operators reduce cost by eliminating the need to maintain legacy networks but also enhances the customer experience by providing distinct advantages such as high definition voice quality, simultaneous voice and data usability for rich service experience and seamless connectivity. The highly portable and scalable core network of LTE is being extensively leveraged by governments and other agencies for deployments in niche areas such as public safety for disaster management; here VoLTE becomes absolutely crucial for enabling vital voice communication during life critical operations. Moreover, VoLTE can help define a single wireless core network for both data and voice thus allowing multimedia communication involving voice, video and data at the same time. This can be leveraged to provide exceptional customer experience and to share critical information during disaster management.

Implementation of VoLTE is a complex undertaking that requires leveraging the IMS network and implementing specific QoS to enable seamless carrying of data and high definition audio/video quality. Its introduction impacts network elements across the spectrum including User Equipment (UE) (IMS Client), RAN (eNodeB), Core (EPC) and IMS Servers. The standards for VoLTE are still evolving and coupled with the complexity of implementing it means that it provides a huge opportunity for equipment manufacturers to introduce differentiation in their VoLTE solution.

An optimal VoLTE solution delivers an enhanced customer experience by providing many distinct benefits such as seamless HD voice/video quality, while enabling operators to reduce infrastructure cost and complexity. It also enables LTE equipment manufacturers to target this highly lucrative market by offering highly differentiated products, thus providing multiple benefits to every stakeholder in the LTE space. VoLTE has thus become an imperative for the success of LTE.

Aricent will be exhibiting at the upcoming LTE Asia conference, taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

The inaugural LTE Voice Summit, dedicated to telecoms voice issues, is taking place on October 1st-2nd at the Hilton Paddington, London. Click here NOW to download a flyer.

CEO, MTC, Namibia: “Will we be able to generate revenues in VoLTE as we do today in circuit switched?”

Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia

Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia

Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia is speaking on how the African market is preparing for the LTE data surge 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 speak to him the many challenges that faced MTN as it looked to move beyond the limitations of its 3G network and launch LTE into the African market.

Please bring us up to speed with the state of LTE on your network and tell us some of the main challenges you are facing?

I believe that LTE is not a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ but a ‘When’. We accelerated the introduction of LTE as our 3G network was limited – for several reasons. It operated at a relatively high frequency, which is not ideal for urban areas and impractical for rural areas, a limited number of subscribers could be attached per carrier, and there were admission control or power control issues. 3G smartphones, with their push e-mail and other features are generating a tremendous challenge as the WCDMA 3G radio sites are easily reaching their “power control” limit, blocking data sessions and migrating voice calls down to 2G EDGE. To cope with this heavy usage more NodeBs are required but MTC was limited in the number they could deploy in the Capital, due to regulatory and environmental restriction from authorities.

Based on this, LTE was an imperative because it was possible to be established at the same sites where we had WCDMA 3G. The 1800MHz frequency was awarded to us and was much better in terms of indoor coverage, with no “admission control” limitation, thus providing us with a way forward. Nevertheless, the challenge was first to migrate the heavy users of dongles/routers from 3G to 4G LTE, which we did extremely well, thanks to a tremendous marketing and offer campaign.

What were the chief technical challenges you are facing in optimising your network for LTE?

In our case, the move to LTE was smooth. Firstly, in 2010 we deployed a 2G/3G SingleRAN that was upgradable to 4G. Secondly, we had fibre metro rings connecting to parts of our network, including base stations, which could also easily accommodate IP microwave where needed. Thirdly, in 2011 MTC completed the deployment of a national fibre backbone. Next, in the first quarter of 2012 we were connected to the WACS submarine cable, with which we entered into a consortium venture in 2008. Thanks to all of this, the major elements were in place to introduce the LTE.

However, LTE represents a transformation of a mobile network’s architecture into a full IP network. The unified 2G/3G cores and 4G with EPC (Evolved Packet Core) and the HLR/HSS (Home Location Register and Home Subscriber Server), that includes CS fall-back for voice calls is an interoperability challenge.

This IP ecosystem delivers significant speeds, especially in terms of downlink, and requires a deep understanding of exactly how to manage the IP packages. Optimising the synchronization between the transport data elements (especially HD video) and the connection to the device requires a different mind-set than what most mobile operator are used to.

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 sensitive are your customers on LTE pricing?

Pricing is always an issue. Pricing LTE higher than 3G could be a problem if the customer does not recognise the relevance of the service. In advanced markets with the latest 3G HSPA and no capacity issues, the customer will have difficulty seeing the advantages of LTE, but where there are capacity issues, then the customer will look for 4G LTE and will even be keen to pay a premium – and that was the case for MTN.

MTC introduced 4G LTE dongles and routers to the market with packages that provided 10 times more speed and capacity than 3G – a much better experience, and charged a 10 per cent premium over 3G HSDPA.  Not surprisingly, when LTE was introduced the early adopters were the heavy 3G users and MTC migrated those early adopters for free and kept the same 3G charges for the first three months and only after that charged the premium.

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

Where our networks are migrating to full IP, VoLTE is just a matter of time. Theoretically, VoLTE is the basis to migrate from the current CS to the full IP network, but I personally expect that the 2G/3G networks will be with us for several years.

The industry business model trend is that data represents 80 per cent of the CAPEX, but does not generate much more than 10 per cent of revenues. How we will monetise the migration properly from the current circuit-switched to a future voice over IP (VoLTE) might, in my humble opinion, be the biggest challenge that our industry will soon face. Will we be able to generate revenues in VoLTE as we do today in circuit switched?

Regarding the unified communication services, the rich communication suit (RCS) is a very comprehensive approach designed to cater to the future needs of the end-user, and to combat the OTT players. I believe the RCS approach is very relevant and a very positive move.

How does the move to LTE affect your backhaul strategy?

The strategic direction of our backhaul and backbones submarine cables was defined before we decided to introduce LTE. We were looking for bandwidth for our own transmissions, to move away from the old leased lines and renting international bandwidth, as well as extending our own fibre to the base stations. We accelerated our investment to improve our P&L in the future without the need to resort to renting connectivity, which has been one of MTC biggest OPEX costs.

Why is the LTE World Summit such a key event in your calendar?

It will be interesting to learn if all the communication industry is really aligned and to discover if we are at the front line and if we fully understanding the next steps to take with LTE.

Interview: “VoLTE is set to play [an] important role within our LTE strategy”: Master Expert System Architect Network, Eplus-gruppe.

Dietmar KohnenmergenThe E-Plus Group is the third largest mobile network operator in Germany, with just over 20 per cent market share. Ahead 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, we speak to Dietmar Kohnenmergen, Master Expert System Architect Network for E-Plus Gruppe about its preparation for launching LTE and the issues around diameter signaling.

What have been the major developments around LTE in your region this year?

For E-Plus Gruppe, the major developments have been an IP RAN rollout and the introduction of EPC and associated testing.

Do you feel the people still need to be educated as to what Diameter signaling is?

The experts are quite familiar with Diameter signalling issues, but the operational teams still need some education.

What are the key issues around Diameter that the industry needs to be aware of?

The primary issues are E-signalling load protection and adaptation to the various needs of the different Diameter flavours.

How can these key issues be solved?

From our perspective the introduction of a Diameter Router Agent is one of the most promising solutions for solving diameter issues.

What are the other technical challenges around LTE that you expect to face in the next 12 months?

The introduction of Circuit-Switched Fall Back (CSFB) with acceptable performance will be a major challenge for us. The other challenge will be the preparation of the BSS systems in time for our LTE launch.

Where are you on VoLTE and RCS? Are these important to your LTE strategy?

VoLTE is in preparation phase, whereas our plans around RCS have not been decided yet. VoLTE is set to play a more important role within our LTE strategy.

Dietmar Kohnenmergen will be giving a presentation on diameter signaling at 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 flyer for the event.

Also put a date in your diary now for the inaugural LTE Voice Summit, taking place in London on the 23rd-24th October 2013. Click here NOW to download a flyer.

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