Managing the transition to LTE

Johan Khoo, Neil Morgan / Accenture Source
13 May 2015

In our mobile-first world, businesses have embraced the opportunity to “Go Digital” by proving a differentiated experience and transforming operational effectiveness. Today, it’s clear that being digital is a requirement for faster, more efficient network infrastructure.

Telecom service providers in Asia-Pacific have enjoyed high growth rates of mobile devices and subscribers over the past few years. LTE - commonly known as 4G - has a clear appeal to consumers who believe IT offers data speeds up to ten times faster than current 3G networks. For CSPs in Asia, deploying LTE can alleviate capacity from stressed legacy networks and increase brand value through technology leadership.

According to analyst firm Analysys Mason, China will drive the growth of LTE among APAC countries through 2019, although the number of 3G connections will also increase. This is a continuation of a two-tier consumer service expectation, as reflected in continued increasing demand for 3G and 4G service. The report also notes that in Malaysia, LTE adoption is expected to rise as operators boost coverage and seed the market with 4G handsets. Moving to LTE can be challenging as it requires major changes in network core components, customer authentication, billing models and more. How can CSPs tackle these challenges and appropriately transition to LTE?

Mature and developing market challenges

When transitioning to LTE, CSPs in mature markets follow a traditional path, with periodic technological advancement matched to customer demand curves. While iterations add more capacity, more capabilities, and cost-savings, they also create more complexity. Thus, many legacy systems remain in operation until an upgrade is justified or warranted.

Leading practices have helped underpin successful LTE launches in markets such as the US, Japan, and South Korea, and many of these practices begin with a revamp of business support systems.
In developing countries - where economies are often closely aligned with CSPs, the scenario is different. Examples include financial institutions whose mobile money services are offered by CSPs, video content providers, educational content providers - anyone with an Internet connection is a potential customer. Because they’re typically “greenfield environments” (less committed in terms of equipment or infrastructure) CSPs in developing markets have the opportunity to quickly deploy new technology.

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