Posts tagged ‘Day Two’

LTE World Summit 2013 – Day Two roundup

For an industry that can sometimes focus on the doom and gloom of issues such as lost revenue streams, the opening keynote of Day Two of the LTE World Summit 2013, from Alain Maloberti, senior vice president, network architecture & design, Orange, France, had a almost wholly positive vibe to it. The core takeaway was that LTE had, in the main, lived up to its expectations. It has been widely deployed; it offers real, tangible performance benefits and customers want it. As they say on the street, that’s a win. Naturally Maloberti picked out some issues – roaming, spectrum fragmentation, interference with TV and the need for SRVCC for VoLTE, but as he pointed out all these are being addressed.

Maloberti

Alain Maloberti, senior vice president, network architecture & design, Orange, France speaking on Day Two of the 2013 LTE World Summit

Following Maloberti, Samsung’s marketing director of European networks, Mark Thompson opened his speech with the quote from science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein who said that, “one man’s magic is another man’s engineering.” The implication was that Samsung’s network is ‘magical’, but his call for the creation of ‘smart networks’ comes as a welcome change from the normal industry call to avoid the baseness of becoming a mere ‘dumb pipe’. He also pointed out that Korea’s unassailable LTE technology lead ahead of Europe was actually a good thing.  It serves as a tech testing ground, so if it all goes horribly wrong over there we won’t make the same mistakes. It’s not going horribly wrong of course, and Korea is miles ahead.

To prove the point, the vice president of the network technology unit of Korea Telecom, Mr. Chang-Seok Seo, came on to go describe that carrier’s network in some detail. Carrier aggregation, heterogeneous networks, commercial femtocells, and 1000 cell virtualisation are all part of the mix. Point certainly made then.

Huawei’s Ying Weimin, president of GSM/UMTS/LTE then brought us down to earth with his assessment that, “the dream [of ubiquitous capacity] is nearly here, but performance at the cell edge is still not good enough [for video uploads]. The solution? LTE-A. It will provide 10x better performance at the cell edge, and plans are afoot for LTE-B.

The keynote sessions finished off with a traditional panel discussion with questions being fired at the panel consisting of Frank Meywerk, CTIO, T-Mobile, Netherlands; Marwan Zawaydeh, CTIO, Etisalat, UAE; Suresh Sidhu, CCOO, Celcom Axiata, Malaysia, and Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia.

The question highlights included, “Are you planning on turning off your 2G network?” The responses were all “no”, except for Etisalat’s Zawaydeh, who can’t seem to wait to get rid of 2G. on order to reduce cost and complexity on the network.

Do you expect LTE-Advanced to offer an improved experience for consumers? Two yeses, but surprisingly two said no. The reveal? LTE-A will help operators due to the cost savings gleaned from greater efficiencies of spectrum use, but Meywerk claimed that above 6Mbps consumers don’t notice the extra speed, and as such LTE-A will not bring an appreciably faster experience for 98 per cent of users.

The third highlight for me as, “Do you expect to be ready to promote your network as 5G ready in the next five years?” After the first person along the line said yes, like dominoes falling into line, the rest felt obliged to say the same – marketing madness kicking in in an instant. Here’s we go again….

Panel session with Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia; Suresh Sidhu, CCOO, Celcom Axiata, Malaysia; Frank Meywerk, CTIO, T-Mobile, Netherlands and Marwan Zawaydeh, CTIO, Etisalat, UAE.

Panel session with Miguel Geraldes, CEO, MTC, Namibia; Suresh Sidhu, CCOO, Celcom Axiata, Malaysia; Frank Meywerk, CTIO, T-Mobile, Netherlands and Marwan Zawaydeh, CTIO, Etisalat, UAE.

Other impressions I gleaned from those I spoke to was that the show was both broader, with topics such as public safety and 5G on the agenda, and deeper, with a great number of detailed and focused tracks.

The numbers also backed up the sense of improvement, with a 30 per cent increase in attendees over the previous year. There’s no doubt that this year’s event was a wild success, with a raft of interesting speakers, broaching new topics of interest and everyone who attended came away educated and enlightened, if a little tired!

See you back next year for another successful LTE World Summit!

For those who can make it, the next event in the series is the groundbreaking LTE Africa conference, taking place on the 9th-10th July 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa. Click here to download the brochure for the event.

LTE North America Conference Day Two: Why spectrum is the new black

Sometimes a simple number is just what you need to gain a snapshot of how something has changed, evolved or moved on. Krish Prabhu, CTO of AT&T started proceedings of Day Two of the LTE North America conference in Dallas by telling the packed audience that since the launch of the iPhone in 2007 data traffic on networks has increased by no less than 20,000 per cent. As he phrased it, “it’s hard to comprehend whatever that means.”

What it indicates to me is that today data is the new oil, the fuel that powers economies worldwide as much, or even more so, than the viscous black liquid that J.R Ewing, (and now his sons) obsesses over. Spectrum is the new black. Dallas, is the perfect location then, for the LTE North America conference, where over the past few days a fine succession of speakers, panellists  and analysts have informed, educated and even at times entertained – though admittedly not usually deliberately for the latter.

Over 1,00 attendees have filled the halls and the tracks (66% up from 2011), and walking around I’ve heard from many people how impressed they have been with the quality of the show, in terms of content and of networking opportunities. Speed networking proved to be a particular favourite!

Back to the opening keynote of Day Two and AT&T’s Krish Prabhu, Prabhu, in perhaps a slightly self-congratulatory tone, said that the industry, or perhaps he meant just AT&T, had done a good job of going from that standing start of carrying virtually no data traffic, to meeting the demands of the myriad American football fans who wants to upload picture from the Dallas Cowboy’s stadium during a game.  This was made possible through AT&T’s investments such as portable antennas that could be moved into areas such as stadiums as required. Prabhu said that only recently these were used during the Democratic convention in North Carolina and with tongue firmly in cheek, he said that AT&T liked to think that this was one of the reasons why the Democrats won.

Prabhu revealed that over that last five years, AT&T had spent over $90billion on wireless and spectrum to improve the quality of the network. (A tremendous amount – those Dallas Cowboys pictures had better be good) and that with its well publicised Velocity IP investments, AT&T would complete its LTE coverage by the end of 2014 covering some 300m of the population.

Krish Prabhu, CTO, AT&T

Small cells would increase in number through 2013 and 2014 but would be tricky to deploy. SON had been a success for the network so far, and he claimed that it has resulted in a significant improvement in the network. AT&T had measured a reduction in dropped calls by 10 per cent, retention of 3G traffic by the same amount and 15 per cent fewer loaded cells. Asking the audience if they had noticed this improvement amusingly failed to be matched by a show of hands, leading Prabhu to suggest, again tongue-in-cheek, that perhaps AT&T’s  measurements could be wrong.

Following the keynote Prabhu joined a panel session with representatives from Google, MetroPCS and Sony Mobile that raised some interesting discussions around the challenges of harmonising the highly fragmenting ecosystem of LTE. But Prabhu once again had a comment that raised a laugh from the audience when he answered the question of whether carriers had a role to play in the face of OTT dominance and whether their investments in IMS and RCS would pay off. “It’s certainly beyond pipes – we don’t invest billions to get $70 a month just so everyone’s Google experience is better – if we do that we’re not smart businessmen!”

The panel also felt that RCS had a good chance to succeed – and could become Telecoms 2.0. It was agreed that the convenience that you don’t need to download an app or a client could help it succeed, as long as it was backed with a decent UI and that it always works.

The positivity on the panel towards the potential for future success was epitomised most definitively by Prabhu who when asked to respond with a positive or negative to the question, “Will customers still pay for voice and SMS in five years”, responded, “Hope so!” Now there’s optimism.

So as the curtain falls on a highly successful LTE North America we can look forward to the next event in the busy LTE calendar, LTE Latin America, on 16th-17th April 2013, in what is again a fast growing market and we’ll see you all back here again next year for LTE North America in Dallas.

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