Rating: Apparently a signalling protocol called Diameter will be important
As GoMobile News has extensively reported, the four UK mobile network operators have been locked in discussions with the UK government and industry regulator (Ofcom) today [October 2nd 2012] over the future of 4G in Britain. There has been a lot of talk about the UK being ‘behind’ the USA in roll-out of 4G services. This doesn’t take into account the legal requirement on UK operators to meet certain requirements – in particular coverage by deadlines set by Ofcom. Before the outcome of these discussions has been revealed, three leading mobile industry players Axell Wireless, Tekelec and Tektronix have shared their perspectives with GoMobile News.According to Lyn Cantor, CEO withTektronix Communications, the USA has enjoyed a head start with LTE because the operators have had to meet the demand for wireless data access driven by the proliferation of new smart phones and tablets in the US market.
He claims European operators are not under pressure to commit extensively to LTE.
Economic factors combined with spectrum allocation by regulators will lead to a different rate of market expansion for LTE in the region.
At Axell Wireless, CEO, Ian Brown, reckons that the majority of mobile traffic is emanating from indoors.
So operators have become acutely aware of the need to provide comprehensive in-building coverage.
“This means that more and more operators are now building their networks from the ‘inside out’ rather than the ‘outside in’, which represents a significant shift in mind-set from a few years ago,” Brown argues.
He argues, “Europe may be behind other markets, such as the USA, in terms of commercial LTE deployments, but that hasn’t prevented the operators from adopting new technologies to propagate mobile phone signals into a building.
He believes that both the 800 MHz and 2600MHz bands ( to be released by Ofcom) will provide a well needed increase in spectrum for the operators to support new 4G services.
However in-building coverage systems typically need to support multiple frequency bands and wireless technologies, including 2G and 3G services.
Indeed, some existing frequency bands are being ‘re farmed’ by the operators to provide further support for 3G and 4G services.
At Tekelec, CTO, Doug Suriano, reckons that mobile operators have embraced LTE to provide additional bandwidth and drive down the delivery costs of mobile data, but it also allows them to lock the customer in to services on top of the basic mobile proposition.
“By entering into a partnership with a mobile operator, a content provider – or OTT player – will no longer have to rely on the ‘best effort’ of the Internet,” Suriano says.
He continues, “Entertainment brands and OTT providers will be in a position to successfully monetise services delivered over mobile networks, and enter into lucrative revenue share agreements that will benefit themselves and the operators.”
Suriano thinks that network signalling and its enabling protocol – ‘Diameter – will play a prominent role in the roll out of 4G services .
“By deploying a Diameter network to manage data congestion, signalling traffic and improve efficiencies the operators will have a stable network environment in place that will allow them to invite OTT players, and other service providers, to participate in joint ventures,” Suriano added.