LTE data scores big at this year’s World Cup

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece John Wick, SVP and GM of Connectivity and Mobility Services at Syniverse shares some of his company’s recent research into LTE roaming.

LTE is growing globally, and growing fast, and one area in particular that it’s been taking off in is roaming. To better understand this growth, Syniverse has been examining this through a series of studies based on the LTE roaming patterns of our global IPX network. We most recently focused on LTE roaming at one of the world’s largest events this year – the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament – and the findings revealed some important implications for the development of LTE globally in the next few years.

North America leads regions

LTE won a convincing victory over non-LTE at the World Cup, according to our data. The analysis of roaming data shows that 67 percent of data usage was LTE from travelers to Russia over the four weeks of the tournament, compared to the global average of 54 percent of all traffic for LTE roaming usage between major world regions.

Specifically, the analysis found that the largest volume of global LTE usage coming into Russia during the World Cup came from North America (42 percent). The next most popular LTE roaming location was Asia  (19 percent), followed by Europe (18 percent), Latin America (11 percent), and the Middle East and Africa (9 percent). This is surprising given that no teams from North America played at the World Cup, but it points to the strong LTE roaming agreements between countries.

LTE gaining in other areas

The 67 percent LTE data usage we found points to a huge growth trend over the last few years. In developing markets, more and more operators are launching new LTE services, while operators in developed markets are continuing to build out and enhance their networks. In fact, the GSMA forecasts that by 2020 there will be over 3.5 billion LTE connections and approximately three-quarters of the world’s population will be covered by LTE networks.

This growth is reflected in another huge sports event we analyzed this year, the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea, in February. According to our findings, of the data usage generated by visitors to the Games, an enormous 92 percent was LTE, versus just 8 percent non-LTE. Not surprisingly, Asia received the largest amount (72 percent) of LTE traffic during the Games. Next was North America (23 percent), followed far behind by Europe (3 percent).

IPX a barrier to LTE growth

In addition to these LTE roaming highlights, we uncovered a milestone, as well as a significant challenge, in LTE growth in a global study we completed early this year. The study focused on roaming traffic between six regions – North America; Latin America; Europe; Asia Pacific; the Middle East and Africa; and India – and the findings revealed that in the last year LTE traffic surpassed non-LTE traffic and now represents the majority of global roaming traffic, having risen to 54 percent in 2017 from 46 percent in 2016.

At the same time, the findings highlight the need for the mobile industry to more urgently prepare for technologies like 5G, based on the eight years that it took from the time that LTE was commercially launched for it to surpass the previous generation of technology. A challenge then is fully enabling LTE roaming on a global scale. But outside the Americas, where most of LTE roaming is concentrated, we found the tipping point with global LTE roaming hasn’t fully occurred yet. Specifically, the Americas represent 79 percent of total volume, while LTE roaming volumes for other regions include Europe at 11 percent, Asia Pacific at 7 percent, and the Middle East and Africa at 3 percent.

In fact, this study revealed that a barrier in providing a consistent LTE service footprint was found to lie in the inter-regional connectivity that an IPX network can enable. This technology in particular has emerged as a versatile network backbone that can provide a single-connection capability to link to multiple networks and greatly expand inter-regional connectivity. For this reason, it offers a crucial asset in expanding LTE roaming coverage, and mobile operators need to have a full-scale strategy for integrating IPX in order to accelerate the growth and maturity of their LTE networks.

Looking ahead

The World Cup and other global events present some of the largest and most complex world stages on which to demonstrate the promise of mobile. How operators manage LTE roaming for these events will have profound implications for their success in meeting the rising demand for high-speed, high-capacity usage by today’s traveling mobile users. With 67 percent of data usage at the World Cup consisting of LTE traffic, and with LTE traffic reaching 54 percent to represent the majority of global roaming traffic, it’s imperative that operators are prepared to meet the new demands of the dynamic LTE-powered future now taking shape.

 

Syniverse John Wick Sep2018John Wick is Senior Vice President and General Manager for Mobile Transaction Services, and is responsible for the management and growth of Syniverse’s next-generation networks, messaging, and policy and charging lines of business. He also leads the product and software development across these lines of business.

A Long Term Evolution required for public safety communications

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Ingo Flomer, Product Manager at Cobham Wireless looks at what is needed to deliver a reliable modern public safety communication system.

Emergency service responders – such as the police, emergency medical services and fire and rescue crews – are tasked with keeping the public safe, rapidly addressing problems and finding solutions to man-made and natural disaster. They are reliant on infrastructure that supports rapid, reliable and high-quality communications.

TETRA – the old reliable

Today, most countries – including the UK – use TETRA (terrestrial trunked radio), or a very similar standard of professional mobile radio (PMR), to deliver dedicated public safety communications. These systems deliver very reliable services, providing coverage over huge distances. The technology is highly suitable for voice conversations – person to person and group calls – and basic messaging.

However, supporting only narrowband connectivity and kilobit throughput rates, these networks are not appropriate for large data packet transmission, including digitalised communication, something most of us now take for granted.

We store and share documents in the cloud, send images and stream live video, from almost any location. Emergency services can also greatly benefit from the use of data services, which can include image sharing for facial recognition and real-time video transmission for satellite surveillance or body cameras.

A more robust solution

LTE-based public safety networks can support a wide range of data-centric emergency communication services, future proofing networks for years to come. The technology has been proven in thousands of commercial mobile networks today, offering megabit throughput and latency better than 25ms.

As well as supporting data services, LTE can also support robust voice connectivity. It can change modulation and adapt it to the signal link quality available, so in bad link loss conditions a network can continue to provide a voice or low-data connection. This makes it ideal for most emergency situations where maintaining communications is imperative. Subsequently, many governments across the globe are exploring how they can utilise LTE technology to improve public safety communications. Deployments and network trials are happening today in countries including the UK, US, South Korea, Brazil, Chile and the UAE.

In the US, AT&T is building LTE public safety network FirstNet, which will eventually offer voice, video and data services across the country. The network will use a dedicated spectrum, band 14 in the 700MHZ spectrum, which can also support cellular communications. The UK plans to completely replace its legacy TETRA network with a new LTE-based ESN (Emergency Services Network) by 2020, with elements of the network due to be rolled out at the end of this year and throughout 2019. Unlike FirstNet, it will not leverage dedicated spectrum and will utilise the commercial wireless network of BT, using spectrum at 800MHz, as well as 2.6GHz and 1.8GHz in some locations. In this situation, public safety communications will be prioritised over traditional cellular calls, which can be dropped if necessary.

A timescale for change – LTE challenges

However, despite ambitious plans set-out by these countries, they are finding that developing new LTE public safety networks offers a number of complexities. The UK’s ESN network is already over budget and deadline, whilst in the US, building a standalone public safety network using Band 14 will likely take between five to ten years to complete. One of the complications could be due to the necessary development of new functionality within LTE public safety networks. This includes push-to-talk and group chat functionality, which are not standardised services in today’s LTE networks and require new core, signal processing and radio interface protocols to be developed, which will take time.

Another major challenge is ensuring widespread LTE public safety coverage – including deep penetration into buildings such as basements, large enterprises, and parking lots, as well as remote rural locations. TETRA communications use low frequency, narrowband spectrum – 400MHz in the UK – which delivers extremely effective coverage and in-building penetration in almost any environment. LTE public safety networks, on the other hand, are looking to utilise much higher frequency spectrum – 700Mhz and 800MHz respectively in the US and UK – which have less range and penetration. The result is that public safety networks must be densified in order to provide coverage in hard to reach areas, which has obvious cost implications.

These challenges will be overcome with time and the use of new innovative coverage solutions, yet it is clear to governments and communications companies that expectations of timescales and cost may need reconsidering. As such, TETRA will not instantly disappear and will have to coexist with LTE, in most cases for many years to come. In South Korea, for example, the LTE public safety network being built has interoperability with current TETRA equipment. In France, an LTE network is being built which will share infrastructure with the current TETRA network.

Furthermore, the lifecycle for TETRA is expected to be long, due to the time and cost to deploy the networks. In cases such as in Germany, it has taken almost a decade to complete the nationwide TETRA network. Therefore, the government will be in no hurry to deploy a brand-new LTE network for public safety and replace the existing system.

Almost every country will take a different approach to deploying LTE public safety networks, particularly given the low availability of LTE spectrum. Some will take a hybrid approach, using TETRA and LTE together, whilst others have full ambitions to move communications to LTE as rapidly as possible. What is clear is that new technology is needed to solve the issues associated with public safety communications.

 

Cobham Wireless Ingo_FlomerIngo Flomer is responsible for defining the product management strategy at Cobham Wireless. He has over 20 years’ experience in telecommunications infrastructure and is also an Advisory Board Member for several enterprises and research projects.

Ookla says Telenor is the world’s fastest mobile operator

Telenor Norway registered an average download speed of 72 Mbps in Q2 2018 according to measurement service Ookla.

In a blog post Ookla, which has Telenor as an enterprise client, was able to shed some light on how such speeds are achieved. There doesn’t seem to be anything too surprising; carrier aggregation , 256QAM, 4×4 MIMO and all that jazz all add up to a nice lot of bandwidth. On top of that it seems to have largely shifted voice traffic over to LTE, which presumably frees up more spectrum to widen the 4G pipe.

As a consequence Ookla has Norway in second place in its global wireless speed rankings, although its average speed of 57 Mbps indicates the other Norwegian operators are way behind Telenor and need to introduce some QAM and MIMO into their diets. Qatar is the clear number one and UAE is third, indicating the Gulf has been investing heavily on infrastructure, while Singapore and Iceland are in the top five for both mobile and fixed speed. The UK is 51st on mobile and 30th on fixed.

Ookla speedtest July 2018

Alphabet’s blue sky thinkers pen first Loon deal in Kenya

The Loon team have signed its first commercial deal with Telkom Kenya to deploy a pilot 4G network in suburban and rural areas of the country.

Having dropped the ‘Project’ part of the name, the Loon team now operates as an independent company within the Alphabet business, and does not look that ridiculous any more. Why didn’t anyone else figure out balloons would be an efficient means to deliver connectivity to some of the world’s more difficult not spots.

“As Loon, our mission is to connect people everywhere by inventing and integrating audacious technologies,” said Alastair Westgarth, CEO of Loon. “We couldn’t be more excited to start our journey in Kenya, and we look forward to working with mobile network partners worldwide to deliver on the promise of Loon.”

The deal with Telkom Kenya will kick off in 2019, and is being touted by the team as an alternative to the expensive job of building ground-based infrastructure. The balloons will be 60,000 feet in the air, on the edge of space, focusing on the central regions of Kenya which have been previously difficult to service, due to mountainous and inaccessible terrain. The exact coverage areas will be determined in the coming months, and subject to the requisite regulatory approvals.

“Telkom is focused on bringing innovative products and solutions to the Kenyan market,” said Telkom Kenya CEO Aldo Mareuse. “With this association with Loon, we will be partnering with a pioneer in the use of high altitude balloons to provide LTE coverage across larger areas in Kenya. We will work very hard with Loon, to deliver the first commercial mobile service, as quickly as possible, using Loon’s balloon-powered Internet in Africa.”

Alphabet is a company which certainly does specialise in absurd ideas, though this is one of the few moon-shots which looks to have genuine potential in the near future. Although it has been used to help provide connectivity in regions struck by natural disasters, this is one of the first signs of the long-term and sustainable presence of Loon. For telcos who are considering satellite as a means to tackle the rural not spots, Loon could certainly provide a more cost and time effective means to meet demand.

Back in October, Alphabet was given permission to use 30 experimental balloons to provide connectivity to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, which have been ravaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria, leaving around 90% of the territories without coverage. While temporary coverage following natural disasters will be a continued use case for Loon, executives will certainly be comforted they don’t have to sit around and wait for a natural disaster to hit.

Alphabet is one of the internet giants which has been consistently searching for ways to diversify the business model, though this is not the first time connectivity was a major play. US telcos might have been relieved to see the end of the Google Fibre experiment, though this venture looks to be far more sustainable for Alphabet. Should the Telkom Kenya project be successful, Loon will start to attract interest around the world.

Timing & Synchronization Standards for Wireless Networks

Synchronization networks have been critical components of wireless networks for many years. Introduction of advanced LTE services and 5G services poses new requirements for synchronization networks. This white paper describes synchronization requirements, technologies, as well as, synchronization standards and test and measurement applications. The paper closes with a description of ITU G.826x/G.827x standards for synchronization in wireless networks and highlights some of the main metrics and network limits relevant for deployment in field applications.

Please fill in the short form below to receive a copy of this whitepaper.

Private LTE: Looking beyond public safety

Telecoms.com periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Mark Noe, Senior Director, Business Development, NetNumber takes a look at the potential of Private LTE.

Enterprises worldwide are discovering how LTE technology opens the door to new wireless use cases that provide business transformation. They are also learning the advantages of replacing or augmenting their existing wireless solutions (WiFi) with cost-effective Private LTE network technology. Private LTE solutions can be deployed in defense, healthcare, government, utilities, mining, maritime, manufacturing and to provide rural broadband coverage for underserved populations.

LTE is no longer a technology just for mobile operators. LTE has evolved to a point where it has become simple and affordable for a much larger market to take advantage of, particularly the enterprise. And for good reason as LTE advantages include:

  • Coverage: LTE technology delivers superior indoor and outdoor range compared to WiFi with improved interference characteristics that enable new wireless use cases not possible before
  • Capacity: LTE can now easily accommodate a large number of wireless devices and high data rate applications such as video conferencing, HD voice, surveillance, and social media
  • Seamless Mobility: LTE provides greater service continuity in highly mobile environments, such as with public safety and defense
  • Ubiquitous User Devices: LTE enabled smartphones and tablets are widely available and already used/owned by the user base supporting a BYOD model
  • Interoperability and Security: 3GPP standards are closely adhered to across vendors and includes some of the strongest security standards (encryption, key management)

5G will add capabilities to Private LTE that will only enhance and evolve the enterprise ability to embrace LTE across a wider set of use cases. Here are a few examples:

Network Slicing: enterprises understand the need for network slicing to separate business functions/organizations on network boundaries. This has been happening in the enterprise network for years (VRF’s, MPLS, etc.) and will need to be extended into Private LTE deployments as well. Many times, the need for isolating business organizations on the network is due to regulatory requirements, scaling, or IT administrative reasons. 5G’s inherent ability to support network slicing will only enable broader use of private LTE across the enterprise network.

Lower latency, more bandwidth: the ability to enable lower latency and higher bandwidth will enable a new set of use cases for Private LTE networks. Employee collaboration tools will support a new set of telepresence type experiences alongside the use of VR for enhanced training. New IoT/M2M/autonomous vehicle applications in critical industrial settings such as mining and factories will also be more enabled with 5G bandwidth and lower latency.

Security: the security mechanisms as part of the 3GPP standard that are present in 4G are only enhanced in 5G and represent strong mobile security mechanisms from an enterprise perspective when compared to alternative wireless solutions. 3GPP security presents the ability to enable additional enterprise use cases where critical security mechanisms are required.

Technology solutions are now available that permit the architecture of Private LTE networks to be more scalable (start small, grow to large), affordable, and easy to deploy and manage. Systems integrators, operators and vendors alike should consider the integration of LTE components into a Private LTE portfolio of products.

 

Learn more by speaking to NetNumber at 5G North America 2018, May 14-16, in Austin, Texas.

AT&T, Verizon and GSMA face collusion investigation

AT&T, Verizon and the GSMA are the subjects of a reported probe from the US Department of Justice as to whether the trio have been blocking or hindering the adoption of eSIMs.

According to the New York Times, the Department of Justice has opened an antitrust investigation to understand whether the three have been in cahoots to make life difficult for users wanting to switch services to competitors through the eSIM technology, designed to make life fairer for the consumer. Should there be any truth to suspicions of a co-ordinated attack on consumers, there could be some pretty serious consequences.

The DoJ takes these sorts of issues pretty seriously, stating the following on its website: “Consumers have the right to expect the benefits of free and open competition — the best goods and services at the lowest prices. Public and private organizations often rely on a competitive bidding process to achieve that end. The competitive process only works, however, when competitors set prices honestly and independently.”

There have been various examples of the DoJ tackling market collusion in recent years, including an investigation as to whether the four major airline carriers were keeping ticket prices artificially high, with the most stringent of punishments being $100 million. In some circumstances, the fine can be increased to twice the gain or loss involved with the nefarious activity. Although the DoJ will take any collusion accusations seriously, industries where there are a smaller number of providers raise red flags. The telco space is technically a perfect scenario for collusion.

While there has not been a comment from the DoJ, Verizon and AT&T have both downplayed the investigation, brushing off any concerns, while the GSMA has released the following statement.

“This standard contains a wide range of features, including the option for the eSIM to be locked. In the United States, consumers would have this option; however, they would need to explicitly consent to this under specific commercial agreements with their mobile operator, for example when purchasing a subsidised device. The development of the latest version of the specification is on hold pending the completion of an investigation by the United States Department of Justice. The GSMA is cooperating fully with the Department of Justice in this matter.”

Sources close to the matter have said the investigation was launched after one device manufacturer, said to be Apple, and a competitor of Verizon/AT&T filed complaints the development or actioning of the eSIM technology was being hindered by the trio. The complaint states AT&T, Verizon and the GSMA were pushing the development of the standard down a direction which would not be beneficial to the consumer. One of these developments would be to lock devices into a single provider.

eSIM technology would allow consumers to switch providers without having to physically change the SIM in the handset. It is one way in which the industry is trying to remove the unfair and unjust strangle hold telcos have on their customers. Switching providers is a tiresome and unnecessarily prolonged exercise for users as it stands, as providers make it as difficult as possible; some just give up through frustration which is not the sign of a healthy relationship.

AT&T and Verizon are the dominant players in the US mobile space, controlling around 70% of the market share, though the ability to more seamlessly switch providers might erode this position. The last few years have seen T-Mobile US make very positive steps to challenge the status quo, therefore it might make sense Verizon and AT&T would look to influence standards to protect themselves. The big question is whether this alleged influence would directly hurt competition and consumers. Consumers are often an afterthought for telcos, especially those who are at the top of market share rankings, though protecting the consumer would be top of the priority list for the Department of Justice.

Makan Delrahim, who leads the antitrust division at the DoJ, has previously spoken about the “cartel-like behaviour” of the telcos, while the department is also scrutinising the AT&T/Time Warner deal on the grounds of competition. We get the impression the DoJ is searching for evidence of wrong-doing as opposed to performing an independent investigation. It is a slight nuance, but could swing 50/50 calls.

It has been a week to forget for Qualcomm

Hurdles in China with its NXP acquisition, potentially losing ZTE as a customer and cutting almost 1500 employees; it’s not been a good week for Qualcomm.

Starting with NXP. The $44 billion acquisition has been rumbling on for months with few regulatory hurdles remaining. Then came along China. A cynical individual might assume the authorities were blocking the deal in some sort of retaliation move, but Qualcomm won’t care about that. The reason is irrelevant, the outcome is still the same.

Qualcomm might have become a bargaining chip, but it is at least trying to make the situation work. The concern here is down to competition in the semiconductor market which is becoming smaller each month. Consolidation is a key world here, though Qualcomm has been given the green light from a number of different markets, most notably Europe which is usually quite sensitive to market competition fluctuations; just look at the desire to have four operators in each nation, despite the logic of a pan-European operator model being quite blatant.

In terms of the details, the end date of the purchase agreement between Qualcomm and NXP has been extended from April 25 to July 25 2018, though if approval isn’t received by all by 11:59 p.m. New York City time on July 25, including by China, the deal will be scrapped, termination fees paid and execs will head back to the diversification drawing board. Qualcomm has received clearance from the FTC, so it seems China is the final major pot hole to negotiate.

Of course, there is the risk Qualcomm is a bargaining chip in the saga involving the US and ZTE, a tale the Chinese government will be keeping a close eye on. ZTE, which is starting to make some genuinely positive moves in Western markets, is a Qualcomm customer. Reports suggest ZTE purchases 70% of its chips from Qualcomm, meaning an export ban for all US products to the firm is not good news for Qualcomm.

The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security is likely to be getting numerous phone calls and visitors this week, and we’d imagine Qualcomm’s lobbyists will be in the queue somewhere. Protectionism does not benefit anyone but the short-sighted and xenophobic, and Qualcomm is a company which has benefited from globalisation trends. Executives will not be happy with this development and the inevitable trade war to follow.

Finally, wrapping up an awful week for Qualcomm, Bloomberg is reporting the chipmaker will be laying off 1,231 employees who are based in the San Diego headquarters, while an additional 200 will find themselves frogmarched to the door in Santa Clara and San Jose. Over the last couple of months, Qualcomm has been promising investors it would reduce costs as a concession to the NXP deal, with those guarantees now coming to fruition.

Qualcomm needs to get some wind back in its sales, as there is only so long negative press and stagnant markets can continue. Over the last five days share price has declined by more than 6%, though it is down 19% since the beginning of the year. Some good news will be needed sooner rather than later.

A new roaming playing field makes Quality of Service and LTE paramount

Telecoms.com periodically invites third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Kyle Dorcas, Vice President, Portfolio Market Development at Syniverse, examines the opportunities and challenges presented to operators by the abolition of roaming charges in Europe.

Imagine, it’s just two years ago, 2016, and a frequent business traveler from Germany decides at the last minute to take a weekend vacation to Spain. Although she’s typically a heavy mobile user when at home or traveling for business, for this trip she plans to cut almost all of her mobile voice and data usage during her trip because she’ll be using her personal mobile device.

Fast forward to 2018 – and welcome to a new roaming world. Starting last summer, the German business traveler along with millions of other mobile users across the EU can travel outside their home countries and use their mobile devices just as they do at home, with almost no extra charges for roaming. Since the EU’s abolition of roaming charges went into effect, people from Ireland to Italy can call, text and surf the web without incurring steep charges when traveling around the 28-nation bloc.

These new “roam like home” regulations have completely changed operators’ ability to offer value to customers using a mobile device while abroad. According to traffic measured on Syniverse’s networks, the regulations have resulted in huge growth in the amount of people using their devices while roaming in the EU: mobile data increased 308 percent, voice calls 95 percent, and SMS traffic 34 percent during July, August, and September 2017 compared with the same period in 2016. The new regulations have proven without a doubt that when offered rates they deem more acceptable; people will greatly increase their mobile use when they roam.

Another effect of the end of EU roaming fees is on customers’ usage patterns and service expectations. Crucially, people now expect to be able to use their device and have access to the same high-quality experiences when they travel as they do when they’re at home.

As a result, on this new playing field, the critical challenge for operators is to demonstrate a direct connection with their customers and the unique value delivered to them when they roam. And in taking on this challenge, there lie two areas of opportunity above all others that operators should focus on in distinguishing this value.

A higher quality of experience with real-time intelligence

The first area of opportunity is in optimizing the mobile experience while roaming. With EU customers now not only having uniform pricing for roaming, but higher expectations about using their service the same way as they do at home, there are several challenges in making the value of their connection clear to customers while roaming.

One of the most important of these challenges is the capability to gain a live view of a customer’s connectivity needs and to serve those needs in a relevant, timely way – the concept of real-time intelligence. Improved technologies are now enabling this challenge to be overcome, and based on some of my latest customer work, I’ve identified two best practices that I think will be pivotal.

The first is the ability to act in real time. It’s crucial to have a real-time snapshot of when, where, and how customers need connectivity options – and to be able to act on this on when a decision about connectivity is being considered. If, for example, someone travels abroad and plans to shut off their mobile service instead of investigating roaming options, their home service provider must be prepared to detect their arrival and proactively text them with an offer that entices them to use different roaming services.

The second best practice is empowering mobile users. New technologies now put the power of real-time monitoring of roaming usage control directly in the customer’s hands, and this capability must be taken advantage of. These technologies enable interfaces that allow subscribers to access usage information anytime and anywhere, set spending limits, or apply usage thresholds for data services. The integration of these technologies can not only mitigate bill shock, but also reduce customer complaints and payment disputes.

Reaching the Tipping Point for LTE Roaming

A second area of opportunity in which roaming service can be distinguished lies in LTE. In the next few years, according to the GSMA, the number of people with access to coverage by 4G networks will rise to over 3 billion, and 4G coverage will be extended to almost three-quarters of the world.

And now there’s new promise that mobile service providers can offer a wider range of LTE coverage than ever, according to the results of a study that Syniverse recently released. The study analyzed the regular course, or “trade winds,” of global roaming, and it found that in the last year LTE traffic has surpassed non-LTE traffic and now represents the majority of global roaming traffic. Specifically, LTE traffic rose to 54 percent of global outbound roaming traffic in 2017, up from 42 percent in 2016, but the majority of LTE roaming remains concentrated in the Americas, which represents 79 percent of the total global volume.

The challenge then is to enable LTE roaming on a global scale. Customers’ expectations for using their devices overseas in the same way as they do at home must be fulfilled. But outside the Americas at least, the tipping point with global LTE roaming hasn’t fully occurred yet, and providing LTE roaming service remains a competitive differentiator.

Specifically, the findings indicate that one barrier to a global LTE experience lies in the inter-regional connectivity powered by IPX. This technology in particular has emerged as a versatile network backbone that can provide a single-connection capability to link multiple networks and greatly expand inter-regional connectivity. Consequently, IPX promises to be crucial in accelerating LTE roaming coverage and enabling new services for those companies that fully commit to making it a foundation of their network.

New Playing Field

Europe now has a new playing field for roaming where quality of experience and LTE reach are crucial competitive differentiators. To be able to compete in this new space, mobile service providers must have full-scale strategies for providing these differentiators and demonstrating a direct connection between their customers and the value they deliver when their customers roam.

 

Syniverse Kyle DorcasKyle Dorcas joined Syniverse in 2013 and serves as Vice President for Portfolio Market Development, a role that includes responsibility for Syniverse’s overall portfolio of products and solutions across enterprise, MNO, and MVNO customer groups. Previously, he was Vice President, Policy, and responsible for Syniverse’s policy management business and global portfolio of roaming, real-time intelligence, and policy management solutions. Prior to Syniverse, in a career spanning more than 20 years, Mr. Dorcas served in a number of leadership positions within the mobile industry, which provided him with diverse experience across many sectors of the mobile ecosystem. Kyle began his career helping to introduce new military communication products with General Dynamics. He then worked on the RAN, the core network, and mobile devices during tenures at Nortel and BlackBerry. He is a graduate of the Royal Military College of Canada.

Nokia and KDDI demonstrate 4G can be used for connected car

Autonomous vehicles and the connected car have been one of the front-runners for 5G investments, but in demonstrating 4G can be used as low-latency connectivity for vehicles, has Nokia undermined its 5G mission?

This is part of the issue for the telcos when it comes to investments for 5G; the messaging is very messy. It will be an expensive mission to upgrade the world to the fifth generation of mobile networks, therefore sound business cases for ROI are needed, with autonomous vehicles and the connected car near the top of the list. But if this usecase can be delivered over 4G, does this undermine the desperation for the superfast, low latency networks?

5G will of course be better, but we don’t live in a perfect world and sometimes sacrifices have to be made. This isn’t exactly a press release which encourages the telcos to go all in on the new networks.

The pair now claim to have successfully demonstrated the use of LTE in Japan to deliver cost-efficient, low-latency connectivity for vehicles, using the evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service standard in two connected car applications, and demonstrating the potential of cellular technology to enable fully automated driving in the future.

The Nokia evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast service (eMBMS) hotspot solution, allows data to be sent once to many users simultaneously, which in this trial, allowed real-time information to be shared with multiple vehicles to cost-effectively enable awareness and road safety. In this example, Vehicle-to-network-to-vehicle (V2N2V) and Network Real-Time Kinematic (network RTK), were the applications demonstrated.

“We are pleased to work with Nokia to demonstrate our leadership in the delivery of mobile networks for IoT and connected car communications,” said Munefumi Tsurusawa, GM for Connected Vehicle Technology Department, Technical Planning Division at KDDI Corporation. “This is an important trial showing how the automotive industry can leverage cellular technology to enhance safety of connect vehicles on the roads.”

“Nokia has a comprehensive solution package for V2X based on its MEC platform and eMBMS hotspot solution aiming to cost-effectively accelerate the adoption of vehicle-to-everything communication,” said Uwe Puetzschler, Head of Car2X at Nokia. “While manual intervention was used in the proof-of-concept trials, a clear evolution path to 5G will enable operators such as KDDI to support the widespread adoption of automated vehicles.”

It is no secret 4G and 5G networks will live alongside each other in harmony for at least the first few years of deployment, however you have to wonder whether Nokia has shot itself in the foot here. Huawei took the 4G world by storm, with Ericsson and Nokia both waiting on the 5G revolution to recoup lost fortunes, it is certainly a brave move to send out press releases which potentially undermine one of the leading 5G usecases.