Posts tagged ‘monitoring’

When Preserving Investments In LTE, It’s All About What You Can See

John Reister is vice president of marketing and product management for Vasona Networks

John Reister is vice president of marketing and product management for Vasona Networks

This post is by John Reister is vice president of marketing and product management for Vasona Network

LTE delivers rich content to the hands of people on the go, brings broadband access to rural communities, and opens new revenue opportunities for operators. Typically, just months after activation of an LTE network, consumers flood the network with heavy demands. We can’t change consumer behavior, but we can change management of the traffic that’s mushrooming on LTE networks.

Caught off-guard, some operators have responded by pushing subscribers down to 3G. Some “optimize” certain types of traffic, decreasing quality or speed in the hope of squeezing out more efficiency. Our company advocates a different approach: monitoring congestion conditions per cell and when they arise, intelligently managing the traffic in each cell for the best overall user experiences.

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Big-Picture Thinking and Big Data: Growing LTE Revenue in the Face of Shrinking Margins

growing-lte-revenue-in-the-face-of-shrinking-margins

The financial landscape for communications service providers (CSPs) this year remains rocky. Profits are continuing to fall, with major players such as Telefonica, DTAG, and Vodafone reporting significant drops in revenue: the Vodafone group recently reported a full 90 per cent year-on-year drop. Margins are continually squeezed, competition from OTT players like Google and Apple is fierce, and CSPs must now build out next-generation LTE networks to meet the demand for mobile data services.

Operators are making inroads in cost reduction, but savings are not enough. It’s clear that current business models need to be transformed, focusing on new ways to deliver innovative services and drive revenues.

At The Now Factory, we’re seeing a trend around LTE encompassing both cost reduction and revenue generation. Operators are consolidating their network monitoring and CEM systems under one platform – Customer-Centric Network Monitoring to drive greater cost-efficiencies, while building analytics on top to extract greater value: finding that new LTE revenue.

The flood of rich data available to operators is a deep vein of potential profit for CSPs. The exploration and monetisation of this information is driving the most exciting innovations in the sector. Big Data can’t be ignored, and fortune favours the bold. Today, we work with a host of CSPs who use the power of our analytics platform to find new LTE revenue sources around:

• Machine to Machine (M2M) services

• More flexible pricing models

• Mobile advertising

• Market research

To learn more about how we can help CSPs profit from the migration to LTE, please contact the Now Factory

We will be at the upcoming LTE World Summit in Amsterdam from June 24-26 and would welcome an opportunity to meet with you if you will be attending.

LTE business manager, Astellia: “LTE expectations in terms of throughput and quality are very high.”

Astellia-ManagerAstellia are a sponsor partner of the LTE World Summit, taking place on June 24th-26th 2013, at the RAI Amsterdam, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to Thierry Jacq, LTE business manager to find out more about why network monitoring is so important and how it has evolved in recent years.

Why is mobile network monitoring important for operators?

Probe-based network monitoring is the only way to efficiently obtain comprehensive data on the quality experienced by subscribers on mobile networks. The collected data gives deep insight in network elements performance, handset behavior, services and applications usage and group of subscriber’s behavior such as corporate fleets that require particular quality grades based on service level agreements (SLA).

Probe-based network monitoring tools are the key source of network vendor independent KPIs necessary to benchmark equipment vendors and to evaluate the customer experience.  These tools are invaluable to operators as they are an effective way to identify and troubleshoot poor network quality and misbehaving smartphones that are not in line with 3GPP specifications. This helps to preempt customer complaints and to lower churn.

How have monitoring tools evolved over recent years?

More than 10 years ago Astellia’s Ocean probe represented the beginning of the network probing revolution. In a market where probes were complicated protocols analysers dedicated to troubleshooting, Astellia’s product offered a QoS KPI generator, changing every subscriber into a drive-tester.  Today Astellia takes it some steps further: driving the customer experience through customer analytics. Customer experience management (CEM) is becoming fundamental for mobile operators to differentiate themselves and to succeed. To drive customer experience, operators need to have a 360° visibility into customer’s usage behavior, the network both RAN and Core, and the handset. Therefore, mobile operators need probe-based monitoring solutions which can detect, analyse, correlate, report and troubleshoot issues which are linked to network efficiency, QoE, roaming, handset performance and application usage.

What differentiates one monitoring tool from another? What should a carrier’s CTO look for?

The first thing would be end-to-end monitoring. A mobile network is a set of interworking network elements and as such it is crucial to monitor the network from core to the radio access (RAN) part in order to detect any weak link. Most quality degradations are coming from the RAN, so unique RAN expertise is something CTOs should look for. CTOs should also pay attention to the tools’ capturing and processing capacity. Data is still surging in mobile networks and probes have to be ready to deal with this amount of data.  Data content awareness is another important element. Awareness of the most used services such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and traffic generated by OTT applications (Skype, Whatsapp, etc) is key to be able to optimise a mobile network where, by definition, capacity is limited.

What are the particular challenges that LTE brings that differ from 2G and 3G networks?

LTE’s expectations in terms of throughput and quality are very high. This new technology has been deployed very quickly compared to 2G and 3G, and the integration and the ‘user friendly phase’ have been shortened considerably. As such, operators are under financial pressure to monetise LTE very quickly. LTE introduces a new network layer and new vendors that have to interoperate correctly. This challenge is complicated by the fact that LTE is a pure data network: if you receive a voice call your smartphone has to fall back to 3G layer before taking the call. In order to provide high-quality network services to an increased volume of consumers, mobile network monitoring and optimization is key.

What’s the link between network monitoring and customer retention?

Customer retention is a multi-faceted challenge that encompasses all interactions between the subscriber and his service provider. Probe-based network monitoring brings operators the assurance to quickly detect and fix the root cause of dissatisfaction in a proactive way, hereby providing reliable services to an ever more demanding customer base. Customer Care agents for instance can get a detailed overview of the subscriber activity and identify issues encountered by the subscriber as well as the cause of the problem. Thanks to these probe-based data, they can improve first call resolution time and reduce significantly the number of trouble tickets sent to level 2 teams. Furthermore, collecting and analysing data about customer usage enables the marketing department to propose services and data plans adapted to the subscriber needs, thus increasing satisfaction and ARPU.

Meet Thierry Jacq during the LTE World Summit on Tuesday June 25th at 15h00 on Track 4 where he will be presenting Big data analytics: ‘Extract network and customer insight from Big data – Turn it into action’.

Astellia are nominated for the Best Test/Measurement LTE Product, at the LTE Awards, taking place  at the LTE Awards 2013, taking place at the 25 June 2013, De Duif, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

LTE, today, tomorrow: when should operators commit?

This is the first in a series of guest blogs from significant voices in the industry with something to say about LTE. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Lyn Cantor is president of Tektronix Communications, a provider of service assurance solutions to global operators.

There’s no doubt that demand for data is driving the network carrier market, but while LTE networks will become more pervasive over the next decade they will not all launch at once.  However, while individual carriers have entirely different market environments to cope with the shift in the market has already begun.

In fact, this year promises to be a watershed for LTE. A recent forecast from Juniper Research estimates that the number of LTE subscribers will reach 428 million by 2016; with a surge in growth taking place in 2012.Many wireless operators are taking stock of the economic and competitive environment in their respective markets and considering their LTE roll-out options. It may no longer be a case of ‘if’ an operator will launch an LTE network, but ‘when’.

The development of LTE in global markets will vary according to specific local market factors in addition to an operator’s ability to deliver data efficiently. Operators will make their move when there is a firm business case to do so, prompted by one of at least three possible scenarios.

The first is that an operator’s growth potential is crippled by the existing networks’ ability to cope with traffic demands. The second is that a rival launches LTE early to create the perception that it is leading the market. Third, there is the scenario where an incumbent operator, or new player, decides to adopt an entirely new ‘data driven’ business model.

Looking at LTE regionally, you can see that the U.S. market has taken the lead. The U.S. has enjoyed a head start with LTE because the operators have had to meet the demand for wireless data access, driven by the proliferation of new smart devices, and the need to reduce the cost of mobile broadband delivery. By way of contrast, in Europe, the operators have made a significant investment in 3G. These networks are at an advanced stage and the lack of major LTE deployments has resulted in less pressure to commit extensively to LTE. These factors, combined with spectrum allocation, will lead to a different rate of LTE expansion in Europe.

Operators now recognise the economic realities of LTE. As a result their mind-sets are switching from being a traditional voice and messaging provider to that of a mobile broadband supplier, providing, voice, messaging and data. They now appreciate the challenge they face in monitoring the volume of traffic flowing across their networks – and the ability to monetise that data as bandwidth increases. This will allow operators to cut their cloth accordingly; distinguishing between heavy users and more mainstream traffic, to expand their businesses to meet and sustain market demand going forward.

The opportunities, and potential barriers, which determine the switch to LTE are diverse and vary from region to region. However, one thing is certain. All operators will need to make the jump to LTE to deliver voice, messaging and data to a new breed of consumer.

For more debate on LTE, be sure to attend the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. Click here to register your interest.

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