Posts tagged ‘round-up’

LTE World Summit 2014 – Day Two Round-up

Day Two of the LTE World Summit was introduced by Adrian Scrase, CTO, ETSI; Head of Mobile Competence Centre, 3GPP, who got everyone going with a rousing run through of the work that the 3GPP is currently doing on LTE standards. In all seriousness it was useful to get an update, and the stand out item was that 3GPP is indeed starting to own on standards for operating LTE in unlicensed spectrum bands at 5.8GHz. It is also beginning a study on the use of NFV in a mobile environment and expects that to finished by the beginning of 2016.

As for 5G, Scrase seemed surprised by the background noise of 5G discussions and said that standardization work won’t even start until 2016, so wouldn’t expect that any live 5G services would be running before the end of the decade.

Tell that to SK Telekom who is planning a 5G, or at least ‘pre-5G’ launch in South Korea in time for the Winter Olympics. I first heard this from SK Telecom at the Mobile World Conference in February, and it was reiterated here by Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology R&D Center for SK Telecom.

There seemed a genuine buzz from the floor to hear JinHyo’s presentation, and by the end of it you felt SK Telecom’s reputation as a telecoms leader was justified. The operator has 99 per cent coverage in its home market, (OK, I suppose!) and it has introduced Category 6 handsets (up to 300Mbps). What was great to hear was the description of its VoLTE service, with calls established on one second, and LTE Advanced – where it was touting the new services it could offer on it, including UHD 3480×2160 4K streaming, – which does beg the question – how big are its data packages?

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LTE World Summit 2014 – Day One Round-Up

Once again the LTE World Summit returned to the sunny streets on Amsterdam, or at least to the interior of the RAI exhibition centre, which is nearly as good. This time up on stage a live Twitter feed was visible behind the speakers, providing an opportunity for those in the audience to get their Tweet up on the big screen in real-time – always a thrill.

Proceedings were kicked off by Erik Hoving, CTO of KPN. Hoving reiterated a theme that he has expressed before from this platform – that operators need to move away from specifications and become more people centric.

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“We need to figure out the role of the smartphone,” he said. “The future isn’t about LTE or 5G, it’s about users. If we don’t understand users, we don’t have a role to play. We need to move to a user centric world.”

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LTE North America 2013: round-up

While Europe can stake a claim to be first with LTE, and Asia can boast of being the most advanced right now, the US is undoubtedly the largest market for LTE, with customers in the many millions. With the likes of AT&T have virtually completed their roll outs, Sprint really getting going, and many smaller players also pushing LTE, there was a lot to discuss at this year’s LTE North America 2013, which was the only 4G industry event taking place this year.

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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.

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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 World Summit 2013 – Day One round up

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Erik Hoving, chief strategy, innovation & technology Officer, KPN Group

With record numbers through the door for the first day of the ninth LTE World Summit, there was certainly a lot to take in. And as the dust settles at the end of a long day, I finally got a few moments to take stock. The big revelation of the day? For me, it wasn’t a technical specification, or a marketing nugget, it was the fact that Erik Hoving, chief strategy, innovation & technology Officer, KPN Group, does his own research. To whit, Hoving took himself onto the streets of Amsterdam, to ask passers-by if they knew what LTE meant. The shock result? Zero. Nada. No a single one. True, it probably wasn’t the most scientific of surveys – he only asked ten people – but the point stood.

And what was that point? LTE should not be about the technology, it should be about educating consumers as to what LTE can do for them and how it can make things better. (Ask not what you can do for LTE…)

Hoving told us that KPN, the host operator of the LTE World Summit had prepped its network ahead of it acquiring the LTE spectrum in the auctions last year, a possible risk, but one that enabled it to launch its LTE network just six weeks after acquiring said spectrum. A video he played us showed that it was not activated by a team of highly trained network engineers, but by the Mayor of Amsterdam who wacked a great big red button after which a big on sign appeared on a plasma display behind him. Well, seemed legit to me.

So what can we do with LTE. Hoving believes that the carriers actually shouldn’t worry themselves about it but let others take the lead – specifically children – or at least Hoving’s children who apparently, ‘get’ LTE, in a way that older folk just can’t. A next generation network for the next generation. He did stop short at suggesting that only those under 40 should be allowed to use LTE, an idea that I don’t think would go down well in the propositions department.

Other facts Hoving bestowed upon us was that most consumer interact with their smartphones a full 150 times a day, which he said represented how many times users interact with their carrier. It’s technically true, but I would argue that the consumer doesn’t see it that way – it’s interacting with the content he or she wants and not the operator. Indeed, should the operator not just get out of the way?

skt_statsIn terms of advanced LTE deployments it doesn’t get much more impressive that SKT. Dr. Jae W. Byun, CTO of SK Telecom revealed that since its launch in 2011 it has made great strides and by 2015 expects to have 19 million LTE subscribers (73 per cent of its market). The short term good news is that the ARPU from LTE is 28 per cent more than from 3G users, a great example of LTE being self-monetising. Dr Byun noted that launching LTE had also had a positive impact on its competitors market share and increased their ARPU as well, though SKT was able to retain its dominant position. As you would expect average download speeds on SKT’s LTE network far exceed that of 3G (27Mbps vs. 4.2Mbps). Surprisingly though average data usage is only double (2.1GB vs. 1.1GBs).

Dr. Jae W. Byun, CTO of SK Telecom

In contrast to Hoving’s assertion that operators should not bother offering services, Dr Byun said that SKT has successfully offered two – a service that delivers video highlights of baseball games, and T-Premier TV highlights package. And thanks to its near ubiquitous LTE layer, it offer VoLTE as standard. He also showed his secretary using Joyn services, and converting an HD voice call into a video call. In many senses, it’s a glimpse of European networks of the (hopefully near) future.

Following his speech Dr Byun joined a panel discussion with Andreas Lieber, Head of Mobile Business Development & Partnerships, Groupon, USA; Iain Dendle, Business Development Director, Shazam, UK; Roxanna Zea, CSO, Tele2, Sweden, and Jonathan Alferness, Director of Product Management, Mobile Ads Lead, Google, USA.

Google’s Alferness revealed that because of the speed and ubiquity of LTE, if someone at Google checks the accounts they’ll notice a huge bill for their LTE service, built into his Google Chromebook. “LTE is transformational – I don’t turn on Wi-Fi,” he said.

GroupOn’s Leiber said that despite the perception that OTTs have it all worked out, digital innovators do want to work with operators. “Partnerships make sense,” he said and listed three reasons why it talks to operators, “distribution, revenue and promotion.”

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Operators also enables it to reach customers that it would not otherwise be able to through integration with carrier billing, to access those who would otherwise not trust giving out their credit card details.

Shazam’s Iain Dendle said something similar, while it gets two million new users from the App store, it needs operators to further expand its reach, while the benefits for the operators is that they get to offer, “a magical service’ that ‘encourages usage of the network’.

Interestingly Dr Byun revealed that while Apple and Google dominate in consumer apps, it sees an opportunity to compete by offering something similar for the enterprise markets. Leiber backed this up by saying that operators should offer services where they can innovate, such as O2’s successful live music offering in the UK, but should not do so if they are just looking to copy.

Informa’s chief research analyst Mark Newman and Vodafone Netherlands CEO, Rob Shuter

Informa’s chief research analyst Mark Newman and Vodafone Netherlands CEO, Rob Shuter

The morning’s presentations were finished off with a ‘fireside chat’ (no actual fire allowed –  Health & Safety), between Informa’s chief research analyst Mark Newman and Vodafone Netherlands CEO, Rob Shuter). Shuter said that despite the maturity of the market there was plenty of room for growth in the market with a relatively low usage of data at an average of just 500MB a month. As for future pricing, he said it was likely that voice and SMS would be unlimited, with just data metered. It would not just be about bundle capacity though, with innovations such as QoS allowing for more pricing variations.

While there were many tracks and sessions throughout the day one of the most popular was the 5G innovation masterclass, which saw standing room only for the talk, which looked at how the network might look in 2020. At least no one can say the LTE World Summit is not forward looking!

Check back tomorrow for a run-down of the keynote highlights of Day Two, which if it’s anything like today will be bustling, busy and essential.

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