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Monday, November 2, 2015

High Speed Broadband Mobile Services: What The Customers Are Waiting For

Demands for wireless data services are showing rapid growth due to evolved networks for high-speed connectivity, wide-scale deployment, flat-rate pricing plans and Internet-friendly devices (smartphones). Consumers rely heavily, and often exclusively, on mobile devices for their communications needs. Therefore, the normal trend is to require, from the mobile system, the same performances as the one offered by fixed networks with ADSL.

Very high bit-rate DSL (VDSL), fiber optics or coaxial cable. This comparison raises the level of the bitrate upto 10 Mbps in the first step, and increases upto 30 Mbps. Officially, the target stands at 100 Mbps, the requirement assigned by ITU-T IMT Advanced, but as observed on the fixed networks, very few customers can make a proper use of such a bitrate.

Applications are developed to follow the technical improvement of the systems. They offer a whole range of services, which subsequently increases the request for more bandwidth and more capacity. Basically, they are composed of:

v  Internet applications, as for the fixed networks, including mail, downloads and interactive services; this covers laptops, PDAs and fixed broadband services: the most intuitive set of services that can be provided are related to all the fixed wired Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet services that we have today, except that they should be provided wireless and should support mobility;

v  Multimedia uploads and exchange services. The high uplink data rates of LTE allow for multimedia upload and exchange services such as file sharing, mobile blogging, social networking etc;

v  Internet applications specially designed for the mobile user, in particular location based services. The high data rates combined with mobility of LTE spurs a growth in development of newer and better consumer electronic goods leveraging these advantages. Better gaming consoles, vehicular entertainment systems, portable multimedia players, digital cameras with network capabilities and the likes will be introduced, which will add value to the technology;

v  Television, especially download of movies; and real-time television needing some 4 Mbps or 5 Mbps with H264 or H265 encoding. In this category are premium video on demand/music on demand (VOD/MOD) services. LTE provides effective high data rates and differentiated QoS services. Operators can provide premium multimedia-based services such as VOD and MOD to subscribers who wish to avail such services. The critical point for these services will be superior quality coupled with ease of mobility;

v  and of course, telephony, with the possibility of wide band telephony (7 kHz instead of 4 kHz). It will support business applications for vertical markets. LTE allows operators to provide services to vertical business markets through business applications such as video conferencing to enterprise customers, video surveillance, services to homes. The list of services that can be provided through, is only restricted by our imagination. Limitless applications can be supported through a truly mobile broadband infrastructure.

v  Whichever are the services, wireless operators must also provide a high-quality cellular coverage anywhere customers want to communicate. This requirement is not related to broadband mobile services, it is the principal need for any mobile subscriber and for any service to be provided.

Due to the high costs of backhaul, alternative means to improve cellular coverage in locations, which are difficult to reach, as well as to off-load traffic from the wireless networks. A way to fit to the subscribers’ wishes is to install femtocells, taking advantage of the home Internet high-speed link. It is a way to better support residential and small/home office applications. Vodafone UK was the first operator to launch a commercial femtocell service in Europe (July 2009). AT&T (2H 2009) and Verizon (early 2010) also launched commercial femtocell offerings.

From a competitive perspective, femtocells can help mobile operators seize residential minutes from fixed providers, increase market share and respond to emerging Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Wi-Fi offerings. This of course implies a sharing agreement to be negotiated with the Internet service provider.

From a QoS perspective, femtocells will improve the user experience in the home. This is essential for reducing churn and providing new revenues. Just recall that with the advent of smartphones, mobile communications are heavily using the Internet and high bitrates.

A rapid increase of mobile data usage and the emergence of new applications such as Multimedia Online Gaming (MMOG), mobile TV, web 2.0, streaming contents have motivated the 3GPP to work on the LTE on the way toward 4G mobile.

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