“Never look back unless you are planning to go that way.” So said author and naturalist Henry David Thoreau. In much of the world, when it comes to mobile data traffic, one thing is assured: there’s no looking back, especially as the world moves to digital, every business, regardless of industry sector, becomes a digital business and the high-speed networks to support that digital activity become even more vital.
Countries in the ASEAN region are no exception. Here mobile data traffic is outstripping voice traffic. The new digital consumers - armed with an array of mobile devices - are driving this phenomenon.
As a result, especially in the newer, developing markets, LTE is arriving before 3G, fiber-optic cable is deployed instead of copper cable and tablets are winning over laptop computers. In this environment, deploying high-speed networks, especially LTE, to handle the data is at the top of communications service providers’ list.
When they decide to launch LTE, communications service providers (CSPs) following a more measured, traditional path can expect multiple challenges. There is the cost associated with upgrades to IT infrastructure, such as switches, gateways, and billing and operations systems; the time required to design a network; and migrate customers. These CSPs must build in time to steadily recoup their network investments. And richer, more efficient IT systems regularly become available, requiring at least periodic upgrades.
Alternatively, CSPs can leverage the ever-increasing data traffic and the associated focus on investments in new, high-speed networks, and bypass a phase of IT architecture evolution, and head straight to the LTE finish line. Potential benefits include avoiding the proliferation of products, and side-stepping the challenge of separate billing systems for “pre” and “post” networks.