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LTE: Beyond rocket Speeds

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Jun, 2014


While the world has been taken over by lightning speed internet connections over the past decade, few really thought about the world beyond. As in most situations of market booms in the past, communications industry enjoyed a surge in demand for bandwidth. They successfully addressed this demand with innovative technologies and solutions. Other demand surges like evolution of smart phone as a basic means of communication in most developed and developing markets across the world and enterprise IT solutions increasingly inclining to Cloud drove the demand for bandwidth. I think the technology developments in the past decade will bear witness to the growth experienced during the period as we have seen two major technologies during this time i.e. 2G and 3G.

Post this accelerated phase of development; people were expecting a technology that can address their evolving 21st century mobility needs. Industry experts have been long proposing an all IP network at the scale of the current GSM network to handle the increasing load on the global IP infrastructure. They had to gradually phase out technology that could not keep up with the growing demand for bandwidth. Circuit switching being a very old standard for wireless communication, it cannot be used to handle the current growing needs of the industry. Legacy GSM network, which lends a small portion of the frequency for IP based communication will not come close to addressing the current market needs.

Mobile Apps. This also posed a new challenge.. A virtually non-existent market of Mobile Apps today take up a major chunk of the data consumed. Networks today are optimized for mobile apps for the same reason. Most of the key services like multimedia, productivity and other tasks performed on a smart phone are generally done through apps. The legacy networks, even the likes of 3G and CDMA 2000 could not have handled the current consumption levels of bandwidth.

VoIP is still synonymous with applications like Skype and such applications are synonymous with free calling. An industry level monetization of VoIP services (IP based calling) is still non-existent in most parts of the world. As a matter of fact, VoIP call termination on a telecom network is banned in India. While many say this was largely due to strong lobbying by Telecom community, VoIP industry has not comeback strongly in addressing some key issues like packet drops and call latency in VoIP calling.

LTE seems to be the answer to all that markets demand of an operator today. With the emergence of LTE, we now have a communication platform that is holistic enough to address the emerging needs of the end users. In the world of connected cars and always on devices, mere bandwidth availability is simply not an answer. These devices need to have a communication mechanism smart enough to complete a pre-defined process without any manual intervention. This understanding and addressing the needs of communication market at an enterprise level makes LTE a dependable technology for the foreseeable future. Extending this understanding to the consumer market, LTE has the ability to address the multimedia and bandwidth consuming requirements of end users. The next generation LTE-Advanced is enabling the customers to view HD movies on the move.

VoLTE is a legitimate effort to infuse IP based calling into mainstream telephony and hence the success of this service is largely dependent on whether the LTE operators can successfully mitigate these challenges or not. The increased bandwidth and network optimization will set to make video calling viable for retail users along with improving the voice quality and decreasing packet loss. Although these are just some of the possibilities from a single perspective, the scope for innovation and improvement in the areas of customer delight is boundless.

One need not dwell in the past but as they say “One’s past is the best teacher”. LTE might be vrooming away in terms of speed but LTE success depends on more than just delivering speeds. It is about overall experience of the services. LTE comes with promises of great things like lighting fast download speeds, watching HD movies on the go, listening to lossless music and a promise to forget that there was something called buffering on sites like Youtube. But if it cannot be leveraged upon to deliver new generation services both for enterprises and consumers equally, LTE won’t be able to reach up to the much hyped expectations and would leave us all with a big gap between customers’ expectations and service deliverability.

By : Kasyapa Malladi

KasyapaMalladi works with SURE! as a Product Marketing Specialist in Broadband. Kasyapa specializes in budget based marketing campaigns, strategy implementation in developing economies and in fostering and sustaining partnerships. Kasyapa’s experience includes Marketing Strategy for Cloud products in developed markets.

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