Posts tagged ‘Joyn’

Interview: Head of IP management, Deutsche Telekom: “I hope the conference will reinforce my belief that VoLTE is happening.”

Michele Zarri, head of international standardisation and IP management, Deutsche Telekom, UK

Michele Zarri, head of international standardisation and IP management, Deutsche Telekom, UK

Michele Zarri, head of international standardisation and IP management, Deutsche Telekom, UK is speaking on Day One of inaugural LTE Voice Summit, taking place on October 1st-2nd at the Hilton Paddington, London. Ahead of the show we speak we get an update on Deutsche Telekom’s progress on VoLTE.

When we spoke in May you said that consumers will use VoLTE as they prefer telco quality voice services? With OTT voice set to grow massively over the next 12 months will consumers really care about VoLTE?

I respectfully disagree with the notion that OTT voice is set for a major growth. Though LTE will greatly improve bandwidth and latency, current HSPA and WLAN access is perfectly capable of supporting OTT voice. As smartphone penetration for which many OTT voice clients exist is already significant, there therefore seems to be not much reason why customers should suddenly change their habits. OTT will grow because the general trend of voice traffic is growing, but I still see OTT voice as a different product than VoLTE and catering for different use cases.

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Interview: Senior manager, Packet One, Malaysia: “For P1, LTE is critical… to capture the high growth segment of smartphone and tablet users.”

Mariappan Chanachayai, senior manager, Packet One, Malaysia

Mariappan Chanachayai, senior manager, Packet One, Malaysia

Mariappan Chanachayai, senior manager, Packet One, Malaysia is speaking in the LTE Evolution track on Day One of the LTE Asia conference is taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore.  Ahead of the show we speak to him about how the transition to LTE is progressing for P1 and learn his thoughts in monetisation, Joyn, VoLTE and LTE handsets.

What have been the main developments and major milestones for you over the last 12 months with regards to LTE?

P1 was awarded 20MHz on the 2.6GHz spectrum band to roll out TD-LTE in December 2012. We have issued a request for proposal (RFP) and are in the process of selecting a vendor. As P1’s WiMAX platform on the 2.3GHz band is hardware and software upgradeable to offer TD-LTE it is important for us to ensure our TD-LTE network carries new features and has a higher capability system.  P1 has been active since 2011 to trial and showcase the technology and has showcased ease of transitioning between WiMAX and TDD LTE alongside ZTE Corporation. The demonstration, performed on the 2.3GHz spectrum, achieved 130Mbps on a 20MHz band during the peak downlink throughput in a cell.

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No lag for SK Telecom as it turbo boosts LTE

Following on from our LTE at MWC round-up from last week, I thought we’d go into a little bit more depth on what SK Telecom is doing. Why? Because SK Telecom is one of the world leaders in LTE. According to Informa WCIS stats, as of December 2012 South Korea leads the way with LTE with 32.5% of all subscribers in the country using LTE. It has 7.5m of its subscribers on LTE subscriptions, some 25% of its total user base and it hopes that by the end of 2013 that will go up to 60%. It’s an ambitious figure but it does enjoy coverage of 98% of the country.

When you consider that in the UK, O2 has just been awarded the licence for 800MHz spectrum with an obligation to provide 98% coverage, the difference is stark. In a nutshell, South Korea is way ahead.

Clearly it is in its interests to get everybody across to LTE as soon as possible. It will want to recoup those investments it’s made in LTE and the more people move across the sooner it can leverage the benefits of the lower cost-per-bit of LTE.

If you want to know more about SK Telecom’s latest LTE advances first-hand, Dr Byun Jae-woan is speaking at the LTE World Summit in June. Click here to download a flyer for the event.

No surprise then that at Mobile World Congress SK Telecom said that it would be taking things to the next level and demoing LTE Advanced, with plans to commercialise it in the second half of 2013. After all with strong competitors in the form of KT Corp and LG U+ it can’t afford to rest on its laurels.

The LTE Advanced it showed at MWC consisted of ‘Super Cell’, a concept that uses cell virtualisation to improve network capacity by reducing inter-cell interference. It also helps to ensure better call handovers between cells. It’s still possible to get cut off when travelling between cells today so that’s a welcome improvement.

Top speed is the big news though and the LTE Advanced solution can comfortably deliver 150Mbps to a handset.  A 1.4GB HD movie would download in just 75 seconds SK Telecom is pleased to tell us. (Thunk. Don’t worry, that’s just the sound of someone who’s just signed up to EE on a 500MB cap hitting the floor after fainting).

LTE. It's fast in a completely different way to a McLaren F1.

LTE. It’s fast in a completely different way to a McLaren F1. (See below)

SK also demonstrated VoLTE, which the company has successfully deployed. This is in large part thanks to its widespread LTE coverage layer, which means it doesn’t have to worry about the tricky business of handing over calls to 2G or 3G.

Another good news story for LTE from the house of SK, was that it announced that it had an impressive one million users on its Joyn.T application, all garnered in just 50 days since its launch in December 2012.

Joyn.T, is the RCS-based offering created by operator in a bid to give them a tool to be the OTT guys such as Skype and WhatsApp. It’s good news for the Joyn backers the GSMA, which had to contend with Deutsche Telekom announcing that it was delaying its Joyn deployment for more extensive testing.

On the infrastructure side the news was the SK Telecom was working with Nokia Siemens Networks, the struggling telecoms infrastructure vendor that has seen resurgence in recent months.  NSN was boasting of its so called ‘Liquid Application’ technology, the main thrust of which is essentially to put more intelligence into the base stations in a bid to improve latency. This is a good move.

What many people don’t realise is the latency enhancements in LTE are where most of the real world perceived benefits come from. It’s all about responsiveness. Poor latency is like turbo lag in a car on a race track full of cars. If you have to wait for ages for the boost to come in, and you don’t have long stretches of road ahead of you to make use of that top speed you’re going to lose out to more nimbler connections with lower top speeds but faster responding turbos.

If that seems a little confused it’s because the parallel occurred to me as was failing to leave slower cars behind despite driving a McLaren F1. (In the Xbox 360 game Forza 4 that is – I don’t own a McLaren F1 in real life you probably won’t be surprised to know). It was the laggy turbo in the F1 you see, and the track didn’t let me go above fourth gear at any point, so despite its 240 mph top speeds its potential bandwidth couldn’t help me. Much like a high bandwidth connection with low latency. If NSN’s Liquid Application can improve latency and top speed, it’s the best of both worlds.

SK Telecom has been boosting its backend bandwidth too though, with the announcement in January that it would be moving from 40G to 100G upgrades, giving it 8Tbps to play with on its optical network.

dr_byun

SK Telcoms’s CTO and Head of Future Technology R&D Division Byun Jae-Woan

Other interesting developments that came out of MWC this year for SK Telecom were its indoor location positioning technology, its innovative healthcare solutions such as Smartcase that used mobile connectivity to send medical information to doctors remotely, and FREND, which provide on-site diagnosis of major diseases and send that information again for 3G or 4G.

However, for SK Telecom I’d say MWC 2013 was mainly about LTE. The GSMA certainly thought so and here is a picture of SK’s CTO and Head of Future Technology R&D Division Byun Jae-Woan, proudly displaying the award the operator won from the Global Mobile Awards 2013 for the 4G LTE with PETA Solution – a cocktail of technologies to improve LTE performance involving multi carriers, femtocells, VoLTE, SON and Advanced Smart Cloud Access networks.

 

DMTS, Technology Development Group, U.S. Cellular: “The mobile wireless industry is one of the most innovative industries in the world.”

Erik Neitzel, DMTS, Technology, Development Group, U.S. Cellular

What have been the main developments for you over the last six months with regards to LTE?

Well, we’ve certainly been busy with LTE! U.S. Cellular, in conjunction with its partner, King Street Wireless, launched a 4G LTE network in March 2012 that enhanced the wireless experience by providing countless entertainment possibilities, while helping customers simplify and organise their lives. The March rollout of 4G LTE included select cities in Iowa, Wisconsin, Maine, North Carolina, Texas, and Oklahoma, including some of U.S. Cellular’s leading markets. U.S. Cellular is the first wireless carrier to offer 4G LTE in several of these markets. In the second half of this year, 4G LTE coverage is expanding to cover select cities in Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Hampshire, Oregon, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. The 4G LTE network currently covers 31 per cent of U.S. Cellular’s customers. By the end of 2012, 58 per cent of U.S. Cellular customers will enjoy faster 4G LTE speeds.

Spectrum harmonisation is an on-going issue. Can it realistically be achieved, and do you think we will ever have a true world LTE phone?

The focus of my presentation to LTE North America in 2009 was this very issue of spectrum harmonisation. It was interesting to me that after years of the major operators running different types of networks using competing standards, we were moving toward a common standard but a fractured spectrum ecosystem. There are now seven or more different bands targeted for commercialisation in North America, not to mention others overseas. It is critical that government agencies, operators, network equipment manufacturers (NEMS), and device OEMs work together to ensure band compatibility for LTE in order to provide complete and diverse coverage options for users. I can’t predict the future, but we’re working hard to push device multi-band compatibility.

Are operators doing enough to deal with the impact of signalling from all the new smartphones and tablets that are appearing?

There is certainly awareness now concerning signalling that wasn’t there a few years ago. Wireless networks today typically are serving data using radio resources that can be an order of magnitude more than what would be needed for an optimised data stream, so there is a lot of room for improvement. I know from various conferences that most operators are looking at various methods for reducing signalling in their networks. Some operators are working directly with large application developers to educate them on the unique properties of radio link design and ways that signalling can be made more efficient. There are also developers working on middleware which resides on the mobile device to act as a traffic cop for autonomously generated signalling that can aggregate requests and also act as a content proxy. I don’t think that there is a single solution. It will be a combination of efforts that will enable operators to combat the signalling inefficiencies that we see today.

What are the basic things operators should do to optimise their networks?

Network optimisation begins with the radio link. Solid RF design principles are a must, but closing the gap between optimisation identification and implementation will be critical in the future. The combination of Remote Electrical Tilt (RET) antennas and Self-Organizing Networks (SON) promise to reduce this optimisation time considerably. Proper core network design, which allows for highly redundant, dispersed network elements will improve network uptime and reduce latency—critical for real-time applications like VoLTE. QoS inherent within LTE will allow even more ways to optimise the network to serve diverse classes of mobile wireless traffic.

Are you excited about the RCS based Joyn technology and do you think it will really help fight back against the OTT players?

RCS Joyn is GSMA branding for set of services based on RCSe specifications. In general, U.S. Cellular and North American operators will be launching RCS services based on RCS 5.0 specifications. Alignment of operators behind Joyn will enable interoperability between networks. The impact on OTT players remains to be seen.

What are your plans for VoLTE?

That is a definite area of interest for U.S. Cellular, as we see VoLTE and RCS as a way to enhance services, while managing future network costs. We are planning on VoLTE trials in middle to late 2013 to develop deployment capability.

Net neutrality remains a contentious issue and has recently been enshrined in law in the Netherlands. What is your stance on this?

U.S. Cellular has taken all the necessary steps to comply with the net neutrality regulations imposed by the FCC concerning internet access.  Unlike some other carriers, we were not so concerned about the rules that we felt compelled to take an appeal.  In short, it’s not a major issue for us.

How do you feel you can differentiate yourselves from the larger players in the market?

U.S. Cellular is focused on providing the best customer experience. We offer the latest phones and tablets, all backed by a high-speed nationwide network and we continue to roll out 4G LTE to more customers across our footprint. Our customers enjoy benefits no one else offers, such as no-contract after the first, free overage protection and free battery swap. U.S. Cellular also provides the only points-based rewards program in the industry, which rewards customers for simple things, such as paying bills on-time, adding a line or referring friends and family. Points may be used for faster phone upgrades, additional lines, devices, accessories, and ringtones.

Is there enough innovation occurring in the mobile network industry? Can you provide some examples?

The mobile wireless industry is one of the most innovative industries in the world. Networks are 100 times faster than they were ten years ago, and we’ve gone from supporting text messaging to HD video in the same period. The mounting challenge for operators is how to keep up with data network traffic demand. The paradigm shift to heterogeneous networks is one innovation that will help operators with this issue.

There’s still time to sign up for the LTE North America 2012 conference,taking place on the 14-15th November 2012 at the Fairmont Dallas Hotel, Texas. Click here NOW to register your interest!

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