Joanne Steinberg, Bridgewater Systems
29 Jun 2010
Timeline - Wimax operators may wait until the LTE ecosystem is more developed to reap the full benefits of transition and minimize its costs.
Equally important for operators to consider is service continuity within the core network and full service portability. The transition to LTE must be transparent to subscribers. Service plan features, billing, application and bandwidth management, and provisioning must be consistent as subscribers move from Wimax to LTE. This is even more important if Wimax and LTE coexist, because subscribers will frequently switch among interfaces and should be able to do so without noticing any change in their service. For these reasons, a smooth transition of the control plane in the IP core, including subscriber data management, policy control, and service control is crucial.
Operators have different transition options as shown in the table. For a swap of Wimax for LTE, a software upgrade of common modules will suffice. If the two networks need to coexist, two core networks have to be established, but some elements can be shared.
The similarities between Wimax and LTE, the streamlined upgrade process, and the pressing need to response to steep mobile data traffic growth have made it possible for a new breed of operator to emerge - the 4G operator.
Joanne Steinberg is marketing director at Bridgewater Systems