LTE-A is easy, creativity is hard

18 Sep 2013

Lessons learned from the opening keynote session at LTE Asia 2013 in Singapore:

1. LTE-A is easy

Asked why some operators are already making plans for LTE-Advanced when many operators haven’t yet rolled out LTE, Fumio Watanabe – executive advisor of KDDI and corporate officer/CTO of UQ Communications – said it’s partly because of data demand, but also because the move from LTE to LTE-A isn't that big a step. All you really need is enough spectrum to aggregate.

“If you already have the spectrum to do carrier aggregation, it’s an easy upgrade,” he said.

Thatha Rao, CTO of Bakrie Telecom, concurred. “What we’re looking at is to go with LTE, and once that’s stabilized, move straight on to LTE-A.”

Mock Pak Lum of StarHub added that LTE-A really allows operators to take advantage of its all-IP nature to reduce costs, integrate other access technologies and create new services.

“With LTE-A, once you go all-IP, the innovation opportunities really start to take off,” he said.

2. It’s all about high speeds and capacity

Which sounds obvious, I know. But the reason it’s all about higher speeds and capacity, said Jayhun Mollazade – CEO of Azerbaijan-based Wimax operator AzQtel – is because they “enable you to offer more OTT services, better quality video and more creative services for business users.”

Rao of Bakrie agreed that speed and capacity are attractive elements of LTE, but added that LTE also brings welcome differentiation factors such as readiness of access and service manageability – two key points in the Indonesian market.

3. Creativity = $$$

AzQtel’s Mollazade wasn’t using the word “creative” lightly. “We need creative ideas to keep customers in the long term and lower churn,” he said. “Just having OTT services or VOD is not enough.” Mollazade suggested that triple-play services and VoLTE could be future revenue generators.

On the topic of churn reduction, Mock of StarHub said the operator wants to focus more on loyal customers and customers with greater social value – the influencers who go on social networks.”

Mock also said that in terms of monetization, tiered LTE data packages are already a big help. “80% of our customers only use 2GB a month. We’re showing them that, and that encourages them to use more data, which means more revenue for us.”

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