Posts tagged ‘OTT’

Exclusive Interview – Twitter and OTT partnerships with mobile operators

Arvinder Gujral, Director Business Development APAC, Twitter

Arvinder Gujral, Director for Business Development APAC, Twitter

Our latest addition to the LTE Asia 2015 programme, keynote speaker Arvinder Gujral, Director for Business Development, APAC at Twitter will be joining us in Singapore next month to examine OTT/operator partnerships and how they are developing in Asia. I spoke to him ahead of his talk to get an insight into this evolving relationship;

“The biggest fundamental shift that has happened is that mobile operators have learned to evolve to the reality of Internet and Data superseding Voice and SMS, and have successfully adapted that to their business models and unit economics” he said “OTT providers on the other hand have also learned to work with the mobile operators, and at the same time added value to the operator’s core KPIs around Data and its new operating models. The apparent threat perception that was lingering for a while has been replaced with “lets-add-value” attitude to each other’s business, because at the end of the day it’s the end-user who needs to see benefit from both players, and not one over another.”

“The apparent threat perception… has been replaced with “lets-add-value” attitude”

“Twitter has always worked well with mobile operators; we have long-term relationships with over 500 operators globally. Over time our engagements have evolved from simple SMS connections and Twitter utilising an operator network, and more recently, with operators using the Twitter social graph and network to achieve their KPIs.

We tied up with 17 mobile operators globally for the FIFA World Cup last year, and five operators in South Asia alone for the this year’s Cricket World Cup. The aim was to take the best of Twitter for these events and make it available to the operators’ subscribers. The partnership worked beautifully as operators used their distribution and marketing effectively to show value of Data/Internet via a custom Twitter experience for these global sporting events. Of course, these successes are enabling us to evaluate bolder models to work with in the future.

Our recent partnership with Indosat (the first ever in APAC), where users of Indosat can now buy Voice, SMS, Data directly from Twitter, is another great example of how we are helping our operator partners add to their bottom line”.

But in this fast paced industry, where nothing ever stays the same – how will these partnerships evolve?

“As mobile operators look towards becoming digital operators in their own right, Twitter is in a great position to be ideal partners. We have announced Twitter Fabric, our suite of SDKs, that helps developers along the journey from idea to revenue. We have also started to work with mobile operators in their journey to explore this world of Mobile Apps and are sharing our insights, infrastructure and social graph to help them scale and eventually build additional revenue streams, all via our SDKs”.

“I believe LTE Asia will be a great hub where Twitter gets to learn from the mobile operators on what their concerns are and what they are doing about it. In that process, I can share my experience (in my previous career with a mobile operator) and partner with them through Twitter in their journey towards growing the digital mobile operator industry”.

Arvinder will be discussing Twitter’s operator partnerships during the LTE Asia Keynotes on the 7th of October. If you haven’t registered to attend the show yet or applied for a free operator pass, you can do so now buy visiting our website – www.lteconference.com/asia

Operator Spotlight – Interview with Du’s Haitham Mashal, Senior Director- CS Core at Du

Haitham Mashal, Senior Director- CS Core, Du

Haitham Mashal, Senior Director- CS Core, Du

Prior to the LTE Voice Summit (London, September 28th-30th), we interviewed Du’s senior core network Director Haitham Mashal about his views on the development of VoLTE, service planning and future opportunities. Here is what he had to say, ahead of his participation at this year’s summit.

Q. As we see the commercial launch, is there any clearer idea of whether VoLTE will truly live up to its promise?

A. No doubt VoLTE would even exceed its promise for both customers and Operators. Operators would have the chance to transform their networks into full fledge IP network and get the benefit of reducing both CAPEX and Opex. Operators would also be capable to offer better Voice quality with enriched services on top of the voice that can compete with OTT voice services.

Customers would enjoy the enriched crystal clear HD voice and shorter time setup. This would definitely enhance the customer experience and satisfy the customer demands to enjoy different services simultaneously even during call establishment.

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Exclusive Interview with Shavin Wijetunge, Assistant Manager at Mobitel Sri Lanka

Shavin Wijetunge, Assistant Manager at Mobitel Sri Lanka

Shavin Wijetunge, Assistant Manager at Mobitel Sri Lanka

Launching LTE requires a huge investment and successful monetization of the network is therefore key to ensure return of investment. To find out how operators across Asia are monetizing their LTE networks, I briefly spoke with LTE Asia speaker Shavin Wijetunge, Assistant Manager at Mobitel to find out how they are driving revenue from their LTE network.

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2015 – The Year for VoLTE!

Sonal Ghelani, Senior Researcher VoLTE & 5G at Informa Telecoms & Media

Sonal Ghelani, Senior Researcher VoLTE & 5G at Informa Telecoms & Media

Mobile operators have finally seen first deployments of this much talked about service and VoLTE is evolving as the platform of choice for voice calls + enabling additional services over the network.

VoLTE platforms are making significant progress in VoWiFi services too, with the aim of improved in-building coverage, however the quality of services is yet to be defined due to the complexity of the network.

As VoLTE is said to provide a long term solution for voice, does this mean 3G networks can be retired? What other benefits does VoLTE offer and how does this help operators retain profits, that were until quite recently lost to OTT players?

The 3rd Annual LTE Voice Summit, will address all current and pressing questions surrounding Voice over LTE along with bringing tier 1 operators + vendors sharing latest case studies from live VoLTE networks! Register + Join this flagship event today @ http://voice.lteconference.com/

Exclusive Interview with Jawad Arshad, Assistant Manager Strategic Partnerships, Verticals and Digital Services at China Mobile

Jawad Arshad, Assistant Manager Strategic Partnerships, Verticals and Digital Services at China Mobile

Jawad Arshad, Assistant Manager Strategic Partnerships, Verticals and Digital Services at China Mobile

Ahead of the LTE Asia Summit, taking place in Singapore this October I interviewed Jawad Arshad, Assistant Manager Strategic Partnerships, Verticals and Digital Services at China Mobile. Jawad’s work is focussed on developing partnerships between OTT’s and operators. I wanted to find out what role he thinks operators can play in the OTT ecosystem.

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Going over the top: How to play nice with the vast and growing number of new players as a service provider

Andy Cocks, CTO, Dimension Data (Asia Pacific)

This guest post was written by Andy Cocks, CTO, Dimension Data (Asia Pacific)

This guest post was written by Andy Cocks, CTO, Dimension Data (Asia Pacific)

Over-the-top (OTT) content and service providers that monetise traditional service providers’ infrastructure — fixed and mobile infrastructure in which these operators have invested heavily — are shaking things up in an already competitive market.

OTTs are using software-defined networking and virtualisation to reap the benefits of the infrastructure and access networks of bigger players — with great success. The new forces in play are gaining a lot more awareness from traditional service providers.
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OTT Spotlight – Interview with Viber’s Luiz Felipe Barros, Brazil Country Manager

Luiz Felipe Barros, Brazil Country Manager, Viber

Luiz Felipe Barros, Brazil Country Manager, Viber

Latin America is a promising market for OTTs and data consumption, but that doesn’t mean lost revenue for operators and MNOs in the region. In this exclusive interview for the LTE World Series Blog, Luiz Felipe Barros, Brazil Country Manager at Viber, tells us about the opportunities in partnership between MNOs and OTT players.

One of the featured keynote speakers at the 6th Annual LTE Latin America conference and exhibition, Luiz Felipe sat down with us to give us a quick summary of his key message eat this year’s show.

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Interview: Mobile data & Broadband Services, Vodafone Fiji Limited: “Big data analytics opens up a whole range of new possibilities.”

Santosh Payal, Manager for Mobile Data and Broadband Services for Vodafone Fiji Limited

Santosh Payal, Manager for Mobile Data and Broadband Services for Vodafone Fiji Limited

Santosh Payal, Manager for Mobile Data and Broadband Services for Vodafone Fiji Limited will be discussing optimal LTE pricing in his presentation on Day Two of the 9th annual LTE Asia conference taking place on the 23rd-25th September 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. 

Are billing systems keeping pace with changes in how MNOs now charge for data?

Billing vendors are trying to keep up with the phenomenal growth of data and the need to support different charging mechanisms. However, the data market dynamics are such that it makes them hard to cope with these changes and implement them in a short time. The constant billing system updates also comes at a cost, with which most of MNOs are not willing to keep up. We believe the flexibility in billing platforms should be increased, thus enabling MNOs to create their own service/charging logic without going through the pain of frequent investing in billing platforms.

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Balancing negotiation power with OTT players

Eric Van Haetsdaele, Director Global Solution Marketing at Astellia

Eric Van Haetsdaele, Director Global Solution Marketing at Astellia

Few operators have successfully launched their own applications to compete with OTTs. Telefonica Digital for instance took down its Tu Me app, which was supposed to be a retort to third-party messaging apps like WhatsApp, Skype and Viber. Even the GSMA-based Joyn standard did not live up to expectations and hasn’t delivered yet on its promises. It is becoming extremely hard to out-innovate OTT players. Therefore, the only way for operators to avoid revenue drain is to partner with OTT providers and develop attractive tariff plans to increase value for money.

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Interview: Senior manager for applications and services for Smile Communications, South Africa: “The biggest challenge we face right now is the lack of availability of true VoLTE devices.”

Jason Penton, senior manager for applications and services for Smile Communications, South Africa

Jason Penton, senior manager for applications and services for Smile Communications, South Africa

Jason Penton, senior manager for applications and services for Smile Communications, South Africa is taking part is panel discussion on managing network traffic on Day Two of the inaugural LTE Voice Summit, taking place on October 1st-2nd at the Hilton Paddington, London.

What are the biggest challenges to implementing VoLTE on your network and when do you foresee it being rolled out?

The biggest challenge we face right now is the lack of availability of true VoLTE devices. When we refer to a true VoLTE device, we mean a device that supports VoLTE natively, not through an over-the-top (OTT), add-on application. We have already tested VoLTE on our network using OTT IMS applications on an LTE access device but this to us does not represent a true VoLTE device. We will be ready to launch VoLTE services on our network as soon as true VoLTE devices become readily available.

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Interview: CEO, Fring: “One of the remaining challenges of IP telephony is the quality of the “last mile” connection.”

Roy Timor-Rousso, CEO, Fring

Roy Timor-Rousso, CEO, Fring

Roy Timor-Rousso, CEO, Fring is taking part in a debate on Ecosystem-Wide Service Innovation on Day Two of the LTE Asia conference, taking place on the The LTE Asia conference is taking place on the 18th-19th September 2013 at the Suntec, Singapore. Ahead of the show we find out more of his thoughts on the relationship between app developers and operators.

Collaborate or compete? What should the relationship with operators be from the OTT perspective?

The issue of cooperate vs. compete between operators and OTT has begun to settle, as an ever growing number of operators have chosen to launch a “Telco OTT” solution. Services like Libon by Orange, Tu Go and Tu Me by Telefonica and World & YOu by Bouygues, offer users the best of OTT and telephony worlds. Telco OTT communication services that work with any IP connection, the capability to call or message any phone number (without having to make sure that their counterpart uses the same application) and the simplicity of bundling the calls and messages with their existing mobile plan.

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Video

Interview: Chang Feng, VP, technology and innovation, Oovoo

LTE in action as we interview Chang Feng, VP, technology and innovation, Oovoo.

Finally got round to editing and uploading my video interview with the VP or tech and innovation at Ooovoo. It made sense to do the the interview using Oovoo itself, and handily it has a built in recording function. And when Informa’s firewall blocked Oovoo from working an EE powered LTE iPhone 5 came to the rescue!  How apt.

Chang tells us how Oovoo aims to compete against the likes of Skype, what LTE deployments means to a video conference app provider, and how OTTs can work more closely with carriers.

Chang Feng will be speaking at the Mobile App Hub, taking place at 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.

Five big ideas for the modern carrier

Phil Harvey, director of corporate communications, Metaswitch Networks.

Phil Harvey, director of corporate communications, Metaswitch Networks.

As you head to the LTE World Summit, there are several big ideas floating around that could absolutely change the telecom business for network operators, perhaps making them more nimble competitors than they’ve been before. Here are five big ideas for today’s network operators that I hope to hear more about in the weeks ahead:

1) Proprietary hardware is becoming a hard sell. The world’s largest network operators have spoken loudly and clearly about their desire to embrace network functions virtualization (NFV). They want their network equipment procurement processes to change in favor of industry standard servers, Ethernet switches and IT systems running software apps from independent developers.

It remains to be seen if the incumbent equipment vendors will ultimately allow this — they seem to be the gatekeepers to carrier innovation — but it does signal that NFV is not a fad. It’s a big deal and establishing credibility in this space is critical for network equipment providers of all sizes.

2) If a vendor says, “Don’t do it,” they really mean, “We can’t do it.” The incumbent network equipment vendors have registered a few complaints about all that could go wrong by virtualising network functions. But the whining won’t stop what seems to be an inevitable march towards openly-programmable networks. Operators; if your vendors do more than the usual amount of whining, you should start worrying.

3) Over-the-top is normal. We don’t live in a “five nines” world. Anyone who has made a call on their cellphone, ever, understands that. We used to rely on “enterprise” apps and services to do our work. Now we use our Google Drive for documents, our Amazon.com S3 for data back-up, the DropBox app for file sharing and Netflix for entertainment. These aren’t telco-grade services — they’re better. The carrier response to all the over-the-top services should have happened years ago. Perhaps it will come someday, but that day won’t come until carriers are convinced they can redesign their networks to behave as flexibly and cost-effectively as the Web-scale companies that are currently making life easier and more productive for consumers and businesses everywhere.

4) IMS doesn’t have to be a roadblock to delivering VoLTE. The use of open source software inside of telcos is increasing and many telcos have expressed interest in Project Clearwater, an open source, cloud-enabled version of the core signaling functions of IMS. As operators are looking at the most cost effective route to offering voice over LTE (VoLTE), they should consider alternative routes that help them deliver telco-like services at using Web-scale economics. I’m looking forward to the panel on Wed. June 26 (“Bringing an Effective Voice Service to the Customer: Evaluating the Options”) where many of these issues will be discussed.

5) Google is not your enemy. Neither is Amazon or any of the other Web-scale companies that are providing services that used to be the exclusive domain of telcos. These Internet innovators have driven down the cost of cloud computing, contributed tons of code to open source projects and they test new network-based services on a willing public almost daily. Telcos can partner with, learn from and use the resources these innovators have made available to offer new services or, even better, allow new services to be created on their behalf. All they have to do is get over the perception that anyone using their networks for profit is somehow a problem to be addressed, rather than an opportunity to be harnessed.

Monetising OTT traffic on LTE networks

Jonathon Gordon, AVP Marketing, Allot Communications

Jonathon Gordon, AVP marketing, Allot Communications

With the roll out of LTE networks around the world, mobile data usage is skyrocketing, opening the door to a wealth of new revenue opportunities for communications service providers. However, at the same time, operators are being challenged to find ways monetise LTE services beyond basic access fees, while maintaining a high quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers.

Today, most LTE pricing schemes are based primarily on speed and the number of gigabytes consumed. However, as LTE moves towards the mainstream, operators will be forced to introduce new service differentiators in order to remain competitive and increase LTE revenues. That being said, in the not too distant future, emphasis on LTE speed will be replaced with the introduction of more personalised LTE “experiences”, including unique value-added services.

With the growing popularity of over-the-top (OTT) players like Facebook, Skype and Netflix on LTE networks, operators who properly leverage OTT traffic intelligence today stand to benefit greatly in the long run.

Unlike 3G, where traffic detection (or deep packet inspection – DPI) was an important tool to help manage network traffic and reduce congestion, the 3GPP forum has defined traffic detection as an integral function for LTE networks. A feature of the 3GPP Release 11 LTE standard, “Traffic Detection Function” (TDF) enables operators to view critical data across their networks and obtain actionable subscriber insight.

By enabling operators to easily identify the subscriber, the application, and content in use, as well as the device, TDF enables carriers to create personalised application-based service tiers and offerings that uniquely match subscriber preferences. Such packages can include tailored gaming, social networking, video streaming and other services.

This network visibility provides greater flexibility when it comes to managing quality of service, charging for use, and steering traffic to value-added services. Moreover, the introduction of new personalised pricing plans deeply appeals to subscribers, helping to generate new revenue, increase QoE and reduce churn.

In addition to introducing new pricing plans, TDF enables operators to create device-based service offerings. For example, operators can identify mobile tethering and apply a premium charging plan. Additionally, TDF lets operators enhance the quality of service for applications like VoIP or video streaming, and then charge more for premium experiences. Finally, TDF enables carriers to easily migrate from 3G to 4G LTE, while keeping policies, speed, and quality of service consistent.

In today’s competitive market, it is clear that DPI technologies, which are at the core of TDF, are no longer a ‘nice feature to have’; they are essential tools to both enhance the service provider’s business and enrich subscriber experience. Those operators that invest in understanding OTT traffic patterns and are able to successfully translate the data into new, personalised and differentiated service plans, will enjoy a competitive advantage, while reaping the benefits of optimised network performance and new revenue streams.

Jonathon Gordon is the AVP of Marketing at Allot Communications a leading global provider of intelligent broadband solutions that put mobile, fixed and enterprise networks at the centre of the digital lifestyle. Jonathon joined Allot in 1999 and has also held management positions in customer support, product management, and international sales, where he has garnered broad and diverse experience in the many facets of the broadband industry.

To speak directly with Allot Communications come to meeting room 5 on the exhibition floor of the LTE World Summit 2013, taking place  on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. 

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.

Interview: Safdar Imam Hyder, senior costing specialist at Omantel, Oman: “US operators are doing it better and Omantel should learn its pricing lessons from them.”

Safdar Imam Hyder, senior costing specialist at Omantel

Safdar Imam Hyder, senior costing specialist at Omantel

Safdar Imam Hyder, senior costing specialist at Omantel is appearing on Day Two of the 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, NetherlandsAhead of the show Hyder tells us how device launches are boosting excitement for LTE in the region amongst consumers, how LTE is a revenue opportunity for operators and why RCS services are critical for operators to be able to compete with OTT.

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

We are witnessing a broadband explosion in the MENA region, especially in the GCC where broadband revenue has been growing steadily at a double digit rate over the last three years. Telecoms revenue in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is expected to grow by 27 per cent between 2012 and 2017 according to Analysys Mason, mainly due to data on 3G and 4G networks rolling out faster and faster.

Since the first launch of LTE in Saudi Arabia in September 2011, LTE has been launched in all the GCC countries such as UAE, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and Bahrain. Here in Oman, LTE deployment is in full swing with both the tier one operators Omantel and Nawras launching – Omantel using both TDD and FDD and Nawras using FDD. Roll-outs have been accelerated in 2013 after the TRA issued spectrum licenses to both the operators at 1.8GHz.

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.

Omantel, a pioneer LTE service provider in the Sultanate of Oman, has announced the launch of the second phase of its FDD 4G LTE network with coverage extended to new areas. With the latest LTE devices launches from Samsung, BlackBerry and Huawei, LTE fever is catching up fast with the general users in the Omani market, especially with the youth in the gaming and video applications. Expectations are high for launches of newer devices and Omantel is progressing well on expanding LTE 4G coverage to almost all major cities of Oman by the third Q313, with its vendor, Huawei.

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

I see LTE as an opportunity to boost ARPU for operators, but it all depends on pricing. Ever since the advent of the technology, billing and charging systems have been riding a wave of change. If Omantel is able to adapt to the new ecosystem we can lead our market to a new era of data connectivity and technological advancement; what is known as the “smart society”. This country has all potential parameters for developing as an e-society with one of the highest ratio of utilised bandwidth per user.

The biggest challenge that operators here are now facing is to get their charging models right. Having learned from their 3G experiences, we know that unlimited offers are a risky proposition in LTE era. In a recent survey, out of 65 operators polled, only three per cent are offering unlimited plans. The combination of new billing options and reluctance to offer unlimited plans is bringing about a new wave of pricing innovation.

Most of the pricing alternatives currently used for LTE are conventional in concept except those of shared plans. Simply, already implemented pricing schemes are being perfected and developed. However, LTE pricing is still in its infancy, evolving differently in various regions. As LTE pioneers European operators are wary of unlimited pricing and have opted for LTE rental premiums in the range of 50-80 per cent, with unit costs per megabyte of almost half compared to rest of the world.

US operators, after an initial fumble in the race to launch 4G networks, are developing new pricing models. They are choosing to be technology-agnostic and have opted to price the new generation telecoms access (mostly data) according to the number/type of connected devices and the data volume consumed. This provides users with an affordable way to use data either stationary or on-the-go and for operators to increase revenue per customer. In my opinion US operators are doing it better and Omantel should learn its pricing lessons from them.

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

I think LTE or any high-speed mobile data network offers great opportunities for monetisation. This is because mankind is undergoing an amazing ‘mobile revolution’. Every day we see new upcoming developments in fields like mobile video, social media applications, mobile marketing, mobile health, mobile money and M2M, and all are made easier via LTE. Both the clients and consumers side have great business need for LTE and there is immense potential in that. But the challenges are fierce and unequal competition with OTT providers, whom are more focused and faster at executing on services and product development. As such, mobile operators are in great danger of becoming simply utility service providers with low-value dumb data pipes for third parties.

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

Internet penetration is growing massively in Oman with more than two million users. OTT services such as Viber, PalTalk, Google Talk, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger have already been unblocked in Oman by a memo issued by the Oman TRA to all operators in April 2012 and are now easily accessible on desktop and mobile devices. Skype might also follow the suit.

RCS does provide a competitive advantage to MNOs by introducing IP-based communications services to their own platform and enabling them to compete with OTT service providers. Realising the importance of multi-service IP network in the lives of the people and the economy in general, regulators all over the world are aggressively protecting or promoting OTTs. As these OTT players eat into traditional telco revenues, technologies such as RCS provides a solid foundation for crafting a compelling user interface, building a brand around services and incorporating differentiating features that most operators traditionally do not seem to be good at.

According to Jeremy Green, a principal analyst in Ovum’s Telco Strategy Practice, by 2020 VoIP alone will have cost the global telecoms industry $479bn in lost revenues. Therefore the importance of adopting RCS is all the more critical.

Interview: Head of international standardisation and IP management, DT, UK: “competing with OTT is not the goal of Deutsche Telekom.”

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 VoLTE vs OTT Voice on Day Two of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Speaking ahead of the show, Zarri explains why he feels the operator provided voice services will still offer benefits to consumers over OTT VoIP applications.

What is your timeline for VoLTE and what benefits will it bring?

Early versions of VoLTE have already been launched in some markets such as Korea and Hong Kong. Operators are currently focussing on deploying LTE, but deployment of IMS platforms, accelerated by the desire to launch Joyn, is taking place simultaneously. Additionally, given the availability of devices compliant to the GSMA’s IR.92 standard, expected during the course of 2013, there is no technical impediment to launching VoLTE. As a consequence I expect to see commercial services rolled out by the end of this year (2013) in most developed markets with international roaming launched within two years after that.

From an operator point of view, the main benefit of VoLTE is being able to provide the voice service natively over the packet switched access, while avoiding disruption to back-office processes. This removes the last constraint justifying the running of circuit-switched networks; therefore achieving the objective of moving fully to the more efficient packet-switched access.

What appeal will VoLTE have to consumers over and above their favourite OTT apps?

Today customers are already replacing the mobile operators offered voice service with their favourite OTT application. The reasons why OTT apps have not been adopted in large scale therefore is not the availability of broadband mobile access, but due rather to the benefits offered by operator-supplied voice. Such advantages will not be lost in the migration to VoLTE. What I am thinking of is reach (call and be called by anyone), security (a trusted relationship with the operator and strong encryption), privacy (user data is safe with an operator), familiar interface (voice client is natively integrated in the handset), seamless user experience (use of phone numbers, set of supplementary services), predictability (well-known charging scheme) and, last but not least, quality, as the network is configured to prioritise voice traffic over other types of traffic.

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 sound significantly better than current voice calls?

Calls between two VoLTE users will use the HD voice codec, resulting in a far superior experience. In fact HD Voice is already available over 3G networks, therefore in time the vast majority of the mobile to mobile calls will enjoy the benefits of such a codec. Fast forwarding a few years, as IMS allows the device of the caller and of the called party to negotiate the codec used, it is imaginable that new and more powerful codecs will be introduced and used for Voice over IMS calls.

Why was VoLTE not baked into LTE from initial launch of the technology?

The goal of 3GPP when developing LTE was primarily to create a radio technology that could meet the IMT‑advanced requirements issued by ITU, therefore the service layer was not in focus. Furthermore, in 2008, when the LTE specifications were released, IMS was already a three-year old technology and earmarked as the means to create voice services over a packet switched access. In fact, you will notice that no service except connectivity was, to use your expression, baked into LTE, though the low-latency target and support for guaranteed bit-rate were evidently tailored for the support of voice and other multimedia services.

Is any kind of VoLTE launch practical without SRVCC widely implemented?  (In a network without SRVCC implemented, please explain what happens when a VoLTE call is made to a handset that goes out of LTE coverage?)

Indeed SRVCC will be important functionality in the early days of VoLTE due to the expected patchy LTE coverage. However, when operators start rolling out voice over HSPA, which has also been profiled in GSMA, the occurrence of SRVCC events will become much less frequent, since the far more efficient packet switched handover will be used instead to move from LTE to 3G. Other positive aspects are that field tests by Deutsche Telekom have shown that the predicted long interruption of the service in case of SRVCC have been overestimated.

As a VoLTE call would fail when the handset goes out of coverage, operators are unlikely to deploy VoLTE until SRVCC is available and will instead rely on CS Fallback, whereby the handset moves to a legacy access technology prior setting up a call.

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

Contrary to this widespread misconception, competing with OTT is not the goal of Deutsche Telekom. Arrogant as it may sound, Deutsche Telekom will not lower its standards to those of some of the OTT offers currently available to consumers. The goal of RCSe is instead to offer an integrated and secure service for which there is demand in the market, adding all the benefits described above for VoLTE as well as other specific ones. RCS will also show that even traditional mobile operators can offer innovative services. For example, Joyn is a product based on the RCS-e standard and provided by the mobile operator community. The next version of RCS will be fully supported by IMS, bringing additional benefits for the consumer.

Why ‘Context Awareness’ is the future of mobility

This is a guest post by Frank Yue, technical marketing manager for the Service Provider vertical at F5 Networks. In this post, Frank looks at how network intelligence will be crucial to the development of mobile networks and how it will affect their success.

This is a guest post by Frank Yue, technical marketing manager for the Service Provider vertical at F5 Networks. In this post, Frank looks at how network intelligence will be crucial to the development of mobile networks and how it will affect their success.

I have been reading a lot of articles and analyst reviews looking at the trends in the mobile network environment and trying to predict what the ‘Next Big Thing’ will be. I see some people talking about location-based services or the increase in wireless speeds with the rollout of 4G LTE networks worldwide. Other people are talking about the explosion of hardware platforms and operating systems that are available. Then there are the smart devices being introduced, such as intelligent watches, health and fitness monitors, and tracking devices for pets.

All of these technologies depend on wireless networks but they do not encompass and embrace the true value of being wireless. 4G LTE networks enable subscribers to access content at unprecedented speeds that reach 100Mbps and beyond. This means that mobile data is finally reaching the speeds of fixed-line services such as DSL, cable, and even Ethernet to the premise.  It is now possible to build applications that can access big data and deliver the services that mobile data has been envisioning for many years.

All of the mobile future predictions have a central concept in common.  The future of mobility resides in the concept of Context Awareness and providing intelligence based on that context. Mobility offers the opportunity to gain awareness of the individual and their interactions with their ever changing surroundings. This context also includes situational awareness. That means location, biometrics, weather data, data about other individuals, and any other relative data based on mobile context will be used to deliver a fuller environmental awareness.

There are some interesting examples being developed.  Layar is a company that specialises in augmented reality.  It has produced an application that overlays a live camera image of one’s surroundings with relevant information. This could be an image of a store front on the street with overlaid information about current sales promotions.  You could point your camera at an image in a fashion magazine and the application can suggest an online boutique to buy the outfit being worn.  Another example is the company, myTaxi. It pairs customers with taxi cabs in various cities based on the relative location of the client to the taxi, time, desired destination, cost and other factors.  While location is important, these other factors are leveraged to make an intelligent decision. taxi

Within the communications service provider (CSP) network, the infrastructure needs to start becoming intelligent as well. The elements in the network that have visibility into the subscriber information and their data traffic need to start becoming context aware. The CSP can leverage the contextual awareness provided by this insight to deliver enhanced and premium services. Mobile bandwidth is becoming readily available with the delivery of 4G LTE.

The CSPs are discovering that their networks are becoming commoditised for the delivery of over-the-top (OTT) traffic provided by third-party vendors such as NetFlix, YouTube and Facebook. By understanding the context of the subscriber and the OTT traffic, the CSP can add value to their customer’s experience. Video optimisation, parental controls, on-demand bandwidth and QoS controls, and enhanced security through anti-virus/spam are only a few of the services that the CSP is able to offer.

The CSP can obtain the context of the subscriber from the information received through their subscriber management system’s Diameter infrastructure (PCRF, HSS, OCS) and IMS services using SIP architecture. The CSP combines this data with awareness of the subscriber’s data through the use of Traffic Detection Function (TDF) and PCEF components that can inspect the data and identify the subscriber’s sessions and the applications being used.  It is now possible for the CSP to make intelligent decisions using policies that they define to manipulate the subscriber’s sessions using techniques, like QoS and rate limiting, or to steer that traffic to advanced Value Added Services (VAS) that can modify and enhance the content to deliver a richer customer experience.

pic2Ultimately, context awareness for mobile applications in conjunction with context awareness and policy enforcement within the CSP network infrastructure will be key drivers to the growth and development of the mobile internet. These concepts will drive the development and enhancement of technologies such as big data, mobile cloud computing, wearable tech, and mobile commerce. The mobile CSPs that are able to take advantage of the contextual awareness and integrate it into their business model will be the ones that ultimately succeed in this rapidly evolving environment.

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