Huawei LTE Marketing Expert Prabhat Srivastava explains how wireless broadband network (WTTx) services powered by LTE can play a key role in bridging the digital divide
LTE Insights: What role can LTE play in connecting the unconnected? And why isn’t 3G/HSPA enough?
Prabhat Srivastava: According to the latest ITU report , globally there are 4.2 billion people yet to be connected to the internet. Enabling them to access and use public and private services, such as utilities, education, health and transportation, would definitely bring great benefits to society as well as mobile operators. Bridging that digital divide with LTE offers many advantages, such as higher spectral efficiency compared to GSM/UMTS, scalable bandwidth, more spectrum options - including abundant new frequency bands as well as the refarmed spectrum from GSM/UMTS - and faster data speeds. Furthermore, the LTE device ecosystem is getting more mature.
LTE Insights October 2015
Thus, LTE can be used to build the most cost efficient mobile broadband (MBB) networks, and this potentially creates a new business opportunity with wireless broadband network (WTTx) services.
How would WTTx fit into an operator’s overall LTE strategy?
In markets where FTTx penetration rate is low and not cost-efficient, LTE-enabled WTTx allows operators to explore wireless broadband opportunities such as home users, SOHOs, SMEs, schools and rural areas. WTTx offers competitive or even higher speeds than FTTx with a high ROI. Also, WTTx offers 80% lower deployment costs and 90% less deployment time, with plug and play functionality.
How big of a potential market is there for WTTx?
According to Huawei MI (based on “ICT Facts and Figures 2014”and “Ovum MBB Subscriptions 2015-2016”), the number of broadband users - including both fixed broadband and 4G - are still 1.75 billion lower than total Internet user numbers. So that’s a potential market of 1.75 billion users for WTTx.
In the current highly competitive business environment, what are the criteria for building the best mobile network?
The key factor for MBB competition in the future will be based on best data experience. Thus, it is important for operators to provide a seamless and consistent user experience with greater than 5-Mbps connection speeds, and less than 3-second video buffering and webpage loading. We are observing increasing traffic distribution driven by mobile video services in many leading mobile networks in Asian markets. LTE is the most cost-efficient technology to deliver good experiences for video services.
According to Ovum and Huawei MI, data traffic income per GB is shrinking at -30% CAGR, while voice revenues are either stagnant or declining, so mobile operators have to maintain 57% traffic growth to achieve 10% income growth. Mobile video is a promising service format to reach that traffic growth target and be profitable. Meanwhile, statistics from China Mobile show that 30% of MBB users contribute 70% of revenue, which shows the importance of providing an excellent data experience to increase market share, user loyalty, ARPU and branding.
One challenge with LTE (FDD and TDD) is that in most cases, it must coexist with GSM and UMTS. How can operators ensure a smooth evolution?
Operators are fundamentally changing the way they use existing spectrum in order to meet market needs. This includes refarming, which requires technological innovation to enhance the efficiency and flexibility of spectrum usage. One aspect of this kind of technology evolution revolves around leveraging a high-band and low-band spectrum deployment strategy to make the most of spectrum resources. Huawei’s single radio access network (SingleRAN) infrastructure supports GSM, UMTS, LTE FDD and LTE TDD, allowing smooth technology evolution from one technology to another or simultaneously supporting of multiple technologies. Furthermore, “One LTE,” which is the convergence of LTE FDD and LTE TDD, allows operators to be more competitive by making full use of abundant TDD spectrum and FDD benefits.
This article was first published in Telecom Asia LTE Insights October edition