Posts tagged ‘VoLTE’

Viavi Solutions helps your adapt and thrive in the LTE world

Exclusive interview with Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi

Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi

Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi

Viavi Solutions (formerly JDSU, Arieso and Network Instruments) is very active in LTE and helping to advance the technology … how has LTE progressed since last year? 

LTE as a standard continues to evolve to meet the growing capacity and coverage demands of mobile consumers. With LTE Advanced and LTE Broadcast being two examples. Yet it is the area of VoLTE which has probably seen the greatest change from last year. At the event last year many operators were planning their VoLTE roll-out and engaging their technology partners such as Viavi on the challenges to address and ensure they deliver on the high expectations of VoLTE. Now, we have many operators who have either deployed or are very close to deploying. There is also the area of the relevance of voice today – many people of course have an iPhone or other Smartphone and use a multitude of methods to communicate –  certain generations don’t talk at all! So, the industry has had to appreciate that VoLTE needs to be integrated into the way people communicate today.

What are the top VoLTE challenges?

Working closely with our mobile operator customers and building on our experience with IP based voice services as well as RAN and Core network challenges I would say the top three challenges are:

  •  Voice Quality – measuring end-to-end (E2E) voice quality is fundamental to understanding the customers quality of experience (QoE). Knowing what metrics are important, where to measure and quickly finding the root cause of voice quality affecting issues.
  • Handovers – when you move out of an LTE service area and have an active VoLTE call, the user will want to continue with that call. SRVCC seamlessly maintains calls when a mobile user moves from LTE to non-LTE coverage areas. Of course, there is the potential for things to go wrong and calls to get dropped. Also, if the user is not supporting VoLTE but is using LTE, when they receive a call the phone the network need to fall back (CSFB) so that both data and voice are non-LTE.
  • Location – not only knowing what service is being provided to the consumer but also from where so that you can determine, for example, VoLTE hot spots  – that is where there may be too many dropped calls or handovers have failed. By accurately geo-locating voice quality metrics you can make better business decisions on service delivery.

 Presentation theme/message at the event?

In addition to introducing Viavi Solutions to the audience, Viavi will be presenting in 3 key areas, namely: VoLTE, HetNets and Network Optimization. The theme of the VoLTE presentation is how to address some of the key VoLTE challenges and ensure the subscribers gets an exceptional VoLTE service. We will be exploring voice quality- passive measuring, active measuring – how integrating handset data with core data and then geo-locate that information to maximize the business impact of the service. The E2E view of the service from device to RAN to backhaul and core. For HetNets we will be discussing workforce automation and how to ensure cell site turn up to be most cost-effective without impacting quality. Network Optimization will build on the extreme non-uniformity in cellular networks and how subscriber-based, location-aware predictive optimization is needed.


Meet Paul and the Viavi team at the upcoming LTE North America, in Dallas, next November 17th-19th!

Beyond data offload: Gemalto’s advanced Wi-Fi services put new revenue streams within easy reach

Guest post by Jean-François Gros, Marketing & Business Development Director, Gemalto

Guest post by Jean-François Gros, Marketing & Business Development Director, Gemalto

Among consumers, Wi-Fi is perhaps most commonly associated with the simple pleasures of a few minutes free surfing on the train or alongside a coffee. For mobile network operators, however, the stakes are rather higher. With pressure to build capacity and coverage combining with a fiercely competitive marketplace, the inexorable spread of Wi-Fi offers a compelling route to enhanced customer experience, differentiation, and new revenue streams.

Whilst much attention has focussed on the 4G roll-out, Wi-Fi’s contribution to the connectivity eco-system has largely flown under the radar. But the figures speak for themselves.  It is widely reported that, by 2018, there will be one hotspot for every 20 people on the planet; by 2017, seven billion devices will be Wi-Fi enabled1.

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Vendor Spotlight – Virtualized IMS for Faster IP Service Deployments

Guest Post written by Interop Technologies

Operators worldwide have either recently exhausted their LTE network CAPEX or are squarely at the center of it. VoLTE announcements are only accelerating the momentum while providing proof that the tide of advanced IP service adoption is changing. The thing all operators have in common, however, is that they face market pressures for VoWiFiVoLTERCS, and other advanced IP services—many of which have IMS requirements for basic functionality or optimal performance. Thus, when additional changes to the network core are needed to facilitate IP service launch, the cost and complexity of the endeavour through traditional deployment methods can be too lengthy for most operators to meet current demand. For these reasons, virtualisation must be explored.

A virtualised IMS core allows for the quick deployment of cloud-based advanced IP voice and messaging services. WiFi calling is the most crucial service requiring immediate deployment to solve operational issues like in-building coverage and consumer demand. Additionally, the seamless layering of future services that grow with and meet demand is an advantageous way for operators to stay competitive in their market. 


Learn more about Interop Technologies and their CorePlusX℠ offering in person at next week’s LTE Asia conference, @ Booth #37.

PCRF: A Vital Component in the Service Provider’s Network

Guest blog written by Udayabhanu Parida, Product Manager, Simulators, Wireless Division, EXFO

Guest blog written by Udayabhanu Parida, Product Manager, Simulators, Wireless Division, EXFO

With the wireless industry moving toward a unified IP network carrying both voice and data traffic, policy and charging rules function (PCRF) will be taking on an increasingly important role in managing the service provider’s network resources and monetization of service usage. And, with the planned adoption of Voice over LTE (VoLTE), PCRF will be playing an increasingly vital role in the network.

A key component of building a fast and reliable wireless network includes extensive testing of the network elements (NEs), in this case PCRF in the test labs before deployment. In test labs, PCRF is normally tested with other real NEs, such as PDN GW. Such a test setup does not fully exercise the functionality, performance or capacity of PCRF, because PCRF not only communicates with single PDN GW, but multiple PDN GWs. PCRF also communicates with policy control enforcement function (PCEF), such as deep-packet-inspection (DPI), online-charging-system (OCS), and offline-charging-system (OFCS) functions, as well as other PCRFs (visited), call session control function (CSCF), serving gateway (SGW), gateway GPRS support node (GGSN), traffic detection function (TDF) and more.

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Service Provider Highlight – Viavi Solutions (Formerly JDSU)

This guest post was written by Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager @ Viavi

Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi

Guest post written by Paul Gowans, Mobility Marketing Manager at Viavi

VoLTE has evolved significantly from a year ago. At the event last year many operators were planning their VoLTE roll-out and engaging their technology partners such as Viavi on the challenges to address and ensure they deliver on the high expectations of VoLTE. Now, we have many operators who have either deployed or are very close to deploying. Of course now that LTE is much more broadly rolled out, this sets the foundation for extra LTE-based services such as VoLTE.

There is also the area of the relevance of voice today – many people have an iPhone or other Smartphone and use a multitude of methods to communicate – certain generations don’t talk at all! So, the industry has had to appreciate that VoLTE needs to be integrated into the way people communicate today.
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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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Landscaping QoE in a new mobile world

This guest post was written by John Twohig, Solutions Architect at Eirteic

John is a Solutions Architect at Eirteic

John is a Solutions Architect at Eirteic

Today, Mobile Service Providers find themselves struggling to cope with the increasing demand for capacity whilst maintaining a high level of customer experience. Trying to find the most flexible and cost-effective infrastructure to support next generation services whilst also attempting to reduce customer churn by providing adequate customer level Quality of Experience (QoE) & Quality of Service (QoS) can be difficult to achieve. Essentially, Service Providers are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Subscriber level QoE is a subjective matter that is a balancing act; there are a number of factors which need to be considered:

  • Localised low signal quality
  • Numbers of connections using the network in a particular area
  • The performance of a particular mobile handset
  • Download bitrate
  • Resolution and encoding of video content
  • Responsiveness of mobile or web based applications
  • User service plans

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Exclusive interview with Kobus Smit, Head of Voice and Messaging, Deutsche Telekom

Ahead of the 3rd annual LTE Voice Summit 2015, I interviewed Kobus Smit, Head of Voice and Messaging at Deutsche Telekom who gave us an insight on services VoLTE will offer + customer benefits it will bring- here is what Kobus say’s  in this exclusive interview

Ahead of the 3rd annual LTE Voice Summit 2015, I interviewed Kobus Smit, Head of Voice and Messaging at Deutsche Telekom who gave us an insight on services VoLTE will offer + customer benefits it will bring

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

A. VoLTE offers some clear customer benefits – especially around HD voice quality and faster call set-up times, which we believe customers will notice and appreciate. There are also further advantages, like high speed browsing during a call, but the usecases are still pretty limited. The largest benefit of VoLTE, however, is arguably for the Operator and not so much for the customer as it facilitates the necessary transfer of voice to IP. We therefore belief that from a customer perspective “plain” VoLTE alone will not necessarily be a very convincing proposition.

Q. Can we expect to see new and innovative services built on top of plain audio VoLTE?

A. Yes indeed – and it is already being prepared. DT has developed an Enriched Calling proposition together with Sony, Vodafone and others, which we will be bringing to market soon. This enables customers to have a far richer calling experience by adding context and content before, during and after a call. The features include the setting of call importance, adding a subject, picture or location before the call; during a call, users can exchange, locations, draw on maps or pictures, share videos, images and files, and after the call customers have the possibility to leave a visual voicemail, a video or text message. All of this is delivered with very little incremental effort, by utilizing RCS functionality already available in the network and handsets to deliver a truly enhanced user experience.

Q. What is the future, beyond VoLTE? What are the next steps in network development?

A. We are deploying VoLTE on a local basis first and will then extend it to Roaming. We further plan to combine VoLTE with other voice services such as WiFi Calling and plan to establish Video Calling. With VoLTE as a basis for IP voice, it opens the possibility of further enhancement and service meshing in the IP domain.

Q. Network Function Virtualization for VoLTE- what does this to you and is the way forward for this service?

A. For us it is not about the virtualization of one single service, its more about the virtualization of the network infrastructure in order to be more efficient and offer better quality and service for our customers.

Q. What will be your key message at the LTE Voice Summit 2015?

A. Enriched Call builds an attractive proposition around VoLTE.


Meet Kobus and a host of senior executives from around the globe at this year’s LTE Voice Summit in London, on September 29th & 30th.  More information at voice.lteconference.com

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/

Professional testing is key in ensuring high QoE for VoLTE

This guest blog post was written by Kai Ojala, CTO, Anite Network Testing

The requirement for VoLTE is to offer high-quality voice calls and video calls, which as a baseline requires wide LTE coverage. LTE networks fulfill this aspect – especially lower carrier frequencies are deployed globally (e.g. 700 and 800 MHz frequency bands). Operators will benefit from customers switching to VoLTE services by harmonizing voice services and getting better capacity out of the spectrum.
Voice calls in LTE networks can be handled using Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) and Voice over LTE (VoLTE). CSFB provides a mechanism to transfer an initiated voice call to legacy circuit-switched networks. VoLTE, on the other hand, is a fully packet switched technology which uses Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies. With the SR-VCC functionality voice calls made with VoLTE can be switched over to legacy networks when the user moves out of the LTE network coverage.
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Driving VoLTE innovation in Middle East and North Africa – Interview with Aslam Hasan, VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager, AT&T Mobility

Aslam Hasan, VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager, AT&T Mobility

Aslam Hasan, VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager, AT&T Mobility

What is the current status of VoLTE deployments globally and how do operators see this long awaited service impacting the market? To find out I spoke to LTE MENA speaker and VoLTE/HD Consulting Program Manager for AT&T Mobility, Aslam Hasan.

“VoLTE deployments are now picking up around the globe” he said “and South East Asia is leading the way. Countries like Korea and Japan have had VoLTE deployed for almost a year; whereas in North America all the major carriers introduced the service in summer last year. Carriers in Latin and South America are still yet to announce the introduction of the service. However, with the launch of iPhone 6 and more VoLTE devices we will be expecting more deployments this year and beyond in almost all regions.”

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The Promise of Voice over LTE: Overcoming Today’s Challenges

Femi Adeyemi, PhD LTE Solutions Architect, Fujitsu Network Communications

Femi Adeyemi, PhD
LTE Solutions Architect, Fujitsu Network Communications

This post was written by Dr. Femi Adeyemi, LTE Solutions Architect at Fujitsu Network Communications

 

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) is considered by many to be a revolutionary application, for both mobile operators and their subscribers:  Operators, once they establish VoLTE networks, will no longer have to maintain separate networks—circuit-switched for voice and packet-switched for data. As a result, they will see savings in both operational and capital expenses.  Subscribers who use VoLTE will be able to use high quality voice and data applications simultaneously, while enjoying greater clarity in voice calls.

However, VoLTE deployment has been slower than anticipated due to several challenges…

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Why do you need a Diameter Routing Agent in a VoLTE deployment? (Part II)

This is Part II of Peter Nas’ Blog Entry: Other DRA added-value in VoLTE

There’s additional value to the fundamental session binding functionality of a DRA. A DRA can enable optimal call management ensuring higher quality-of-service VoLTE calls. For instance, think of all the different vendors’ equipment that is needed to exchange Diameter Gx and Rx signaling. One example is when the LTE PGW has a different Gx implementation than the PCRF. In turn that PCRF can have a different Diameter Rx implementation than the IMS’s P-CSCF node. Typically inside an operator’s network, there will be various vendors for LTE, PCRF and IMS core network elements. And this is the norm in roaming use cases where the visited LTE network is out of control (meaning a different vendor) than the home IMS network, where the P-CSCF (and other elements) will be involved.

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Are you ready for the switch to 4G LTE?

This post is by Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

Plenty of service providers (and their end-customers) have jumped on the 4G LTE bandwagon. As a result, two of the most immediate and noticeable changes we are seeing are the speed at which data services are running and high-definition voice quality.

And that’s great…assuming that everything works as it should, and customers receive the quality of experience they were promised. But sadly, many 4G LTE implementations do not live up to expectations due to the challenges that lie within the core elements of these networks.

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Operators ‘VoLTE’ over the OTT competition

Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless

Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless

This post is by Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless

“Mobile comms consultancy Northstream reckons European telcos are missing out on over €2 billion in potential profits that could come from effectively partnering with Internet players generally referred to as OTTs,” reported Telecoms.com recently.

Over-the-top (OTT) providers are a big and painful thorn in the side of telcos around the world. Couple this with the growth of 4G and dramatically increased data speeds, and we see how fast the competitive landscape is changing. Now, with Voice over LTE (VoLTE), mobile operators have the power to change it and vault over the competition.

VoLTE gives operators a chance to fight back by providing a native product with the promise of a significantly better user experience. In the process it can solve a lot of operators’ OTT-related challenges. An all-IP technology combines LTE with IMS to efficiently deliver a full suite of services such as IM, video chat, HD voice, presence, and group chat — all opportunities for carriers to differentiate themselves from OTT providers.

In North America, for example, where unlimited voice is the norm, there isn’t as much incentive for subscribers to use OTT voice except for when dialing or traveling internationally. Data or messaging OTT solutions are a different story. However, VoLTE is far from straightforward to deploy and presents operators with a new set of obstacles that are unlike anything they’ve experienced before, especially when it comes to optimising the Radio Access Network (RAN).

Earlier in 2014, several operators delayed their commercial VoLTE launches, citing RAN issues as the cause. The bigger challenge is that VoLTE, and LTE in general, has irreversibly changed subscriber access to mobile services. Engineers that have spent decades perfecting the RAN for traditional voice communications are now faced with the rise of 4G smartphones, all-IP applications and new ways for devices to interact with the core network, which all take time to deploy and test. Given the current transformed network environment, it’s no surprise OTT players have encroached so heavily on voice and messaging revenues – operators haven’t yet been able to fight back, and archaic network testing process is to blame.

With the size and multi-dimensions of today’s mobile networks, legacy solutions like drive testing are incomplete, expensive and time consuming, particularly for deploying products and introducing new devices. New big data-based tools make it simpler and more cost effective to roll out new services. When operators see network and subscriber-level data before a major technology upgrade, they establish a baseline. Big data solutions make this possible. Then, operators can rely on ongoing analytics to see the real-time impact of changes they make to the network, to identify and resolve performance issues as soon as they occur. This is vital for a successful VoLTE launch.

VoLTE deployments are set to double in the next 12 months, according to a September report published by the GSA. The report also indicates engineers are resolving the complexities of managing LTE deployments and are in a position to more effectively compete with OTT players. They need to be. Drive testing alone simply won’t work with VoLTE.

For operators launching VoLTE, subscribers will only be happy if the service is seamless, works well and doesn’t cost them more. Operators need to provide that while focusing on their additional priorities, such as rapid and seamless launch, low operational costs and minimized complexity and challenges associated with deployment. This is essential at launch and on an ongoing basis, as OTT services cannot compete with VoLTE when networks become heavily loaded.

VoLTE is still a young concept, but can be a vital competitive asset. And even though it’s not getting as much attention as bendgate, all new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6-Plus devices come VoLTE-enabled.

It’s only a matter of time before more devices launch with VoLTE, so the time to act is now. Is your network ready for VoLTE?

About the author:  Marc Bensadoun is founder and CEO of Newfield Wireless, a Tektronix Communications company and leader in RAN geoanalytics. For more information, please visit www.newfieldwireless.com.

Putting the pieces in place to make VoLTE work

Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

This post is by Eyal Amit, Product Marketing Manager, Amdocs

There are over 300 LTE deployments around the world, each promising a better, faster and more engaging connected mobile experience. While LTE has brought great advancements with regards to fast data speeds, HD video availability, mobile shopping and gaming, by and large it has not lived up to the hype on voice.

Voice over LTE, or VoLTE should mean conversations in high definition, crystal clear video calls, and easy transitions into text messaging. Consumers should be able to see which of their contacts are available and which aren’t through their contact list, not through a voice message on the other end of the line. Mobile phones were originally designed to facilitate talk, so why have only under seven per cent of all LTE Service providers begun offering VoLTE services to their customers?

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Interview: Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom: “The “killer app” is, and will continue to be good quality voice.”

Christian Menini, Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom

Christian Menini, Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom

Christian Menini, Project Director Wireless and LTE, Swisscom is giving a real life case study about Swisssom’s LTE deployment on Day One of the LTE Voice Summit, taking place on October 7th-8th 2014 at the Royal Garden Hotel, London.

What are you expecting and hoping for from the commercial launch on VoLTE?

The commercial launch of VoLTE, which we are aiming for next year at Swisscom as well, really does have the potential to get the ball rolling. With VoLTE, the MNP are completing the technological change that will enable them to further develop mobile voice communication, as one of their most important assets, and reposition it.

I believe the good old “voice service” may experience a small “renaissance”. Over the past few years voice has been forced into the background by all of the new communication forms. But I’m convinced: Voice is not only noise.

As we approach commercial launch is there any clearer idea of whether VoLTE will truly compete or will it just complement OTT services?

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VoLTE is here. So what’s next?

This post is by Sue White, Senior Director of IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

This is a great year for voice over LTE (VoLTE), with big carriers worldwide launching the new HD service. The industry saw seven launch announcements in May alone, including AT&T in the United States and NTT in Japan. But the real VoLTE excitement is not just about better mobile voice or reducing costs.

Instead, here’s the real power in today’s VoLTE launches: It’s the first step to overhauling an outdated communication strategy, helping carriers to reach their full potential in a communications market that is very different from the one they created decades ago.

The bigger, forward-looking opportunity

To capitalize on the bigger opportunity that VoLTE brings, we first need to accept what has changed.

  • The days of charging for basic voice and text messages are gone.
  • We own several devices (and not all from Apple) and want to consume comms on all of them.
  • We don’t care what kind of network we are on (LTE, Wi-Fi, 3G, fixed or any other). We want to access comms across any of them.
  • We are social beings and like to be with groups and share.
  • We love to talk and message, and the younger ones love video comms too.

With these points in mind, what are the ingredients of a new communications strategy?

  1. Don’t think of VoLTE as voice but as the foundation for a new IP communications network that delivers ‘features’ that can be used by themselves or integrated into apps, web sites and devices. These features include HD voice, IP messaging (the long awaited replacement for text that adds content sharing and more), presence and video communications. These are the core building blocks for any real-time service.
  2. Don’t charge for basic voice, messaging and video communications. Focus instead on a new data-centric business model and win customers over with greater personalization and value. That doesn’t mean there is no money in communications, far from it, as you create value (as discussed in the blog, “The Secret Value of VoLTE”) by:
  • Increasing the amount of data people consume by connecting more people to more content across more devices. Use comms to get more devices into the data plan.
  • Creating stickiness and winning more market share for up-sell opportunities. If your subscribers have their family on one plan with a great user experience and communications included – it’s hard for them to churn from that.

With the above two ingredients in place, this is where the bigger opportunity for communications begins.

  1. Start to innovate. This has been virtually impossible until now. In fact, legacy networks don’t connect with the places we spend most of our time — the web and mobile applications. The key to innovation is to turn your IP communication assets into easy-to-consume features that can be added to any application or web site and extended to any connected device. And by easy, I mean JavaScript libraries, SDKs or REST APIs that are simple to use, on demand and require no knowledge of the back-end systems.

One example of this kind of innovation is from Alten who has built an app with our New Conversation APIs to enrich anonymous incoming VoLTE calls with supplemental information retrieved from web sources. Another is Quobis who built a client app using our WebRTC to extend VoLTE to web-connected devices, creating new revenues right from the browser.

  1. Pursue new markets where communications really matter. Large enterprises are badly in need of a communications overhaul (as discussed in the blog, “How to Kill Shadow IT”). Current enterprise landline systems are based on costly, cumbersome PBXs and siloed unified communications systems. They can’t deliver the agility and ease of use required for today’s ever-changing enterprise. And mobile devices, of course, are entirely separate. That gives carriers a great opportunity to lead with a mobile-first strategy — leveraging the strengths of VoLTE to deliver an open platform for communications, where comms are embedded directly into business apps and tools.

A good example is Phonedeck, who recently won the hackathon at the Next Gen Service Platform conference. They embedded mobile communications into a customer relationship management system using our New Conversation APIs.

And by adding geolocation, metadata and contextual information into the mix, the opportunities are endless — whether to enhance your retail services, pursue new markets (web, verticals, M2P, M2M and more) or explore new revenue models with wholesale application partners.

Cloud, the missing ingredient

These bigger and broader communications opportunities need one more thing to make them happen — the cloud. And here’s why. First, when people talk about cloud it’s usually about lowering costs through automation and significantly speeding up the time to deploy and scale new services. These are all important benefits that cloud will bring to IP communications. But there is something more fundamental.

Cloud enables you to rethink how you engage your customer. Going forward, it’s the customer or developer who will drive the service and experience they need, using your communication services on demand through APIs. For example, if a business person needs a high-quality video conferencing session, this on-demand request will be triggered by an API. Then everything behind it will be automated in the cloud — including the use of software-defined networking (SDN) to guarantee the quality of the video conference in the network.

In other words, cloud becomes the mechanism to deliver on this bigger communications opportunity, allowing you to serve your customers in an entirely new way. And that’s why several of our customers are already virtualizing parts of their VoLTE network today and moving aggressively towards a cloud-based delivery model.

These exciting opportunities all begin with VoLTE — which opens up the tremendous potential of an all-IP network and new ways of thinking. Carriers who recognize the opportunities now can lead the way, with an overhauled communications strategy that brings a new spirit of innovation, enabling your customers to drive the service experience they need.

Interview: Head of Network Strategy, EE: “NFV is an enabler for service evolution including some ideas being discussed for 5G.”

Paul Ceely, head of network strategy, EE

Paul Ceely, head of network strategy, EE

Want to find out more about what comes after 4G? Paul Ceely, head of network strategy at EE is speaking on the subject of evolving beyond LTE on Day One of the 10th annual LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 23rd-26th June 2014, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. In this interview we find out his views on the impact new technology such as NFV will make and how the carrier plans to maintain its 4G leadership.

Do you feel any pressure for EE to be leaders in terms of network technology?

Our ambition and vision is to build the best network and best service so our customers trust us with their digital lives.  And to this end we see network technology and more specifically LTE and LTE-A as a way to maintain network leadership.  Technology is evolving increasingly quickly, both on the user device side and the network, and so to maintain network leadership we must maintain technology leadership.

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Interview: SVP & Head of Network Technology, R&D Center, SK Telecom: “SK Telecom believes that NFV technology will become a key enabler in its mid-to-long term network structure innovation.”

Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology at the R&D Center, SK Telecom

Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology at the R&D Center, SK Telecom

In this interview ahead of the LTE World Summit, Park Jin-Hyo, SVP & Head of Network Technology at the R&D Center, SK Telecom, tells us how the Korean operator is taking a lead on virtualization and gives us a glimpse of what benefits a fully-fledged VoLTE and LTE Advanced network can bring end-users.

Do you feel any pressure for SK Telecom to be leaders in the network technology space?

With the world’s first commercialization of CDMA, multi-carrier, VoLTE, and LTE-Advanced, SK Telecom has been a pioneer in developing mobile network technologies. Rather than pressure, we feel pride for pursuing the best customer experience through providing leading and differentiated technologies.

To what extent have you virtualised your network and how important will NFV be in the future?

Our ultimate goal is to virtualize all telecommunications equipment in implementing software. However, considering the possible impact on the existing network, in 2014 we plan to start with IMS, telecommunications infrastructure to provide HD Voice, as it is based on a general-purpose hardware server and therefore easier to apply virtualization technology.

After validating performance and stability of IT virtualization, we will continue to virtualize other network equipment as well. Going beyond virtualization of core network functions, we plan to apply the technology on base stations, the access point with customer, eventually aiming to innovate the whole structure of telecommunications infrastructure.

By applying NFV technology, a MNO can efficiently cope with ever-increasing data traffic by securing flexible network structure, apply new services at an incomparably faster pace and, as hardware and software will be separated also provide more business opportunities to SMEs. As such, SK Telecom believes that NFV technology will become a key enabler in its mid-to-long term network structure innovation.

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VoLTE support expected at WWDC 2014 iOS8 announcement

iOS8

Are the stars finally aligning for VoLTE? As the industry seems to be moving en mass to support the technology with a flurry of announcements from around the world such as Singtel, Bouygues, Algérie Télécom, NTT DoComo and Verizon and T-Mobile, reports suggest that Apple will add support for VoLTE as part of iOS8.

There’s seems to be some debate as to whether the current iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s can support VoLTE, but the Qualcomm MDM9615M chipset used by these phones, and indeed the iPhone 5 do support it.

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VoLTE – a provider of means to high quality delivery of voice services in LTE networks

Peter Heikenborn Polystar Solver, VP T&M Business Unit

Peter Heikenborn
Polystar Solver, VP T&M Business Unit

According to the GSMA, there are now more than 279 commercial LTE networks around the world and more than 200 million active subscriptions. While most of these are data-only, things are changing rapidly. Operators need to activate voice services in their LTE networks rather than defaulting to circuit-switched fallback (CSFB) mode.

VoLTE provides a means of delivering high quality voice services in LTE networks. It delivers a more efficient use of radio spectrum and, in theory, will enable operators to offer enhanced voice services with better quality than OTT providers.

That’s all very well in theory, but there are considerable challenges associated with the deployment of VoLTE that must be addressed in order for its potential to be fulfilled. With VoLTE, all sessions are delivered via VoIP, managed through an IMS core. Unless LTE coverage is ubiquitous, user mobility means that individual subscribers will move between coverage areas.

A competitive voice service cannot exist in isolation only in areas covered by the LTE deployment: there must be a means of ensuring continuity as users move beyond coverage areas. In order to offer such seamless (and useful) voice services, the operator must manage sessions across multiple domains within its network, both VoIP in LTE networks and circuit switched in others, with no disruption as subscribers move from one to another. Without such continuity, operators risk losing more customers to OTT voice providers delivering services over data connections.

Moreover, operators offering VoLTE services must ensure that they can interconnect and support call delivery between their networks – this has implications both for national interconnection as well as for international interconnectivity. Customers that roam overseas must also be catered for.

Then there’s the legacy question. Voice calls must also be delivered to parties not in LTE networks. Interworking with legacy networks is not an option – it simply must be supported. While there is a solution to legacy interworking – Single Radio Voice Call Continuity (SRVCC)  – operators need to be sure that SRVCC functions correctly and at scale. The result is that operators are confronted with a range of challenges not only for supporting VoLTE services but also for service continuity with legacy networks.

The situation is made more complex by the fact that many operators have selected several vendors for mobile core networks and may also select a new vendor for the IMS core. Their peers may have a different set of vendors. The resulting environment can be extremely complicated. Operators are confronted with the challenge of how to implement the new services and launch them successfully. End-to-end testing is essential to confirm interoperability between these heterogeneous networks.

In order to ensure successful interoperability with peers and legacy networks, operators need a solution that can support a wide range of test cases for the services they need to offer. They need a single solution that can scale for heavy user traffic.

To find out more about Polystar please visit us at Stand 54 at the LTE World Summit 2014.

LTE Voice 2014 The 2nd annual LTE Voice Summit is taking place on October 7th-8th 2014 at the Royal Garden Hotel, London. Click here NOW to download a brochure.

 

‘VoLTE Calling’: Are we ready for Voice-over-LTE?

Sonal Ghelani

Conference Researcher, Informa Telecoms & Media

Voice-over-LTE is a much awaited technology that has seen many trials since its first commercial launch by Korea’s SK Telecom and MetroPCS in the US in 2012. With 279 LTE networks now deployed around the world, according to the GSA, it is expected that 2014 will be the year that will see VoLTE more widely launched.

VoLTE promises clearer calls that will connect much quicker and use less bandwidth, thus the move from legacy circuit-switched networks onto LTE networks is vital. Successful VoLTE calls require VoLTE technology in the network along with compatible devices, such as those made by Samsung, and these have already been used in trials by Verizon, AT&T and EE, though the GSA now lists 329 devices that support VoLTE’s W-AMR codec.

What is also important are the other services, and therefore monetisation opportunities, that VoLTE enables over the network—how this technology is becoming the evolution of voice services and how it might bring different ecosystems together to provide great customer experience.

VoLTE will be a hot topic at the upcoming LTE World Summit in June, but also later in the year the LTE Voice Summit 2014, a dedicated voice event, will present speakers from Orange, Vodafone, EE, Telefonica, SK Telecom, LG Uplus and many other operators. At the event these operators will share their experiences and provide an insight on use and test cases of VoLTE deployments, along with discussing the fundamental reasons why carriers are implementing VoLTE.

Will it be successful in creating another revenue stream for operators, or is it just to eliminate the treat by OTT players? Come and join this debate at the LTE World Summit on 24-25th June, and at the LTE Voice Summit on the 7-8th October 2014, London.

World Summit 2014

IMS Roaming and Interoperability for VoLTE and RCS

Michel van Veen, Group Director, IPX, SAP

Michel van Veen, Group Director, IPX, SAP

With more than 200 LTE network deployments since 2010, the issue of isolated mobile networks is becoming more prevalent.

According to the GSMA, RCS (Rich Communication Services) adoption is also picking up pace with deployments in 11 countries, supported by 17 operators. This figure is expected to grow to 85 operators by next year.

Combining the Voice-over-IP capabilities of VoLTE (Voice over Long-Term Evolution) with RCS enables operators to offer innovative multime­dia services with strong security and quality of service.

ROI

Combining both data and voice services on the same LTE data access network enables mobile operators to optimise network and service management, integrate network resources and simplify service delivery; this results in a significant reduction of operating expense.

This will make their operations easier and less expensive to manage. Operators will be able to pack more information into packets that go from consumer phones to operator cell towers—which is what enables consumers to send more data stream videos. This is vital at a time when the demand for data between consumers on mobile devices is accelerating at a phenomenal level.

The move to super-efficient networks means operators are able to offer new types of services such as video calling and high-definition content streaming. The benefit of offering VoLTE not only increases the possibility for mobile operators to offer better quality voice services, but also enables them to expand to other services such as rich communications. It also changes how they price and sell services to consumers.

RCS and VoLTE

Additionally, the evolution of RCS is about interconnecting operators over IPX to expand the consumer base. Regardless of network type, operators need to interoperate globally to offer quality services regardless of subscriber location.

Mobile operators will take advantage of the IPX and its IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) interconnect hubs to establish a global nextgen service.

Commitment

Over the past few years, just over half (56%) of operators have moved to connect with IPX networks in order to meet heavy demand for 4G/LTE connectivity around the world. This uptake means faster, higher quality roaming capabilities for consumers and greater access to networks’ LTE spectrum offerings.

We’re committed to expanding the LTE roaming and interconnect community, and supporting mobile operators in providing a seamless global roaming experience for mobile subscribers.  Just last year we were the first to announce a standards-compliant IMS roaming and interconnect hub for IP-based services, including VoLTE and RCS. This will help to establish a global community in which subscribers can communicate beyond traditional voice and messaging services across any device, network and geography.

LTE LATAM 2014 logo

Join Michel van Veen at 13h00 on 30 April at LTE LATAM to hear more of his take on IMS Roaming and Interoperability for VoLTE and RCS.

 

Update: Classy HTC One M8 impresses but eschews VoLTE and LTE-A

HTC unveiled its latest flagship phone at the Olympia in London at an event tonight that in terms of scale was reminiscent of Apple’s best handset launches. The AV presentation was certainly big, bold and brash, though with the best will in the world, HTC’s execs do not have quite the same flair as Apple’s.

IMG_0399

It has less to worry about with the handset itself though – the HTC One M8, is a fine device. HTC clearly has an obsession with metal and its global head of design Scott Croyle boasted that 90 per cent of the handset consisted a a unibody metal construction, up from 70 per cent on last year’s HTC One M7. The finish is certainly polished and refined, and very premium in feel. This makes it slightly ironic that the case that HTC is touting covers all of that up.

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