Next Generation Communications Blog

Mobile Data

Opening up the skies with LTE Air-to-Ground

By: Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation Segment, Alcatel-Lucent

(Note:  Originally posted on Alcatel-Lucent corporate blog)

“Ladies and gentlemen, the fasten seat belt sign has now been turned on. Please ensure your mobile devices are switched off for the full duration of the flight” It is the announcement that many passengers dread as they hurry to finish up one more e-mail, or send one final text or tweet, before the start of a flight and a few hours of absence from the connected world.

But from the end of 2016 this is set to change in Europe. Inmarsat announced on November 20 that it has signed a contract with Alcatel-Lucent to develop Long-Term Evolution (LTE) air-to-ground technology, which will be delivered in partnership with service providers and airlines in 30 European countries. Alcatel-Lucent will supply the ground LTE radio infrastructure, which consists of antennas situated 100 km apart. The system is capable of providing download speeds of up to 75 mbps to planes using 2x15 MHz FDD licenses which Inmarsat owns in the Mobile Satellite Service (MSS) S-band. This makes it not only the world’s fastest airborne broadband service, but a pioneer of future in-flight services for passengers and airline operations.

LTE Small Cells Help Public Transport Users Stay Informed in Real-time

By: Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation Segment Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

It’s raining. It’s Monday morning. And the bus hasn’t turned up.

It’s a story experienced all the time in cities across the world, and is a major challenge for transit operators in the battle for passengers. When you are wet through and the bus still hasn’t come around the corner, taking the car always feels like the better option.

However, telecommunications technology is helping to readdress this balance. Research has shown that use of mobile apps which show up-to-date and accurate journey information is improving journey experience. Passengers can plan their journey better meaning the wait for the bus is no longer such a drag.

The New Facet of Customer Experience Management - Field Service 2.0

By: Rhodo Odysseos, Product/Solution Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, and Jess Verbruggen, Motive Integrated Marketing Assistant, Alcatel-Lucent

Traditionally, communications service providers (CSPs) have treated the field service aspect of their organization as a cost center. Field technicians engaged in maintenance activities were simply a part of the cost of doing business.  More recently, the communications industry in general and the field service arena in particular, has been disrupted by immense changes in the customer profile, service expectations, and behaviors.

Field service is often the only face of the company that a customer will ever see, so it’s not a surprise that CSPs are striving to make a positive impact on customers in this realm. Achieving full potential in field service saves CSPs a lot of time and money. Productivity and efficiency reviews targeted at field service operations, done correctly, can reinforce other areas of the business by increasing customer satisfaction and improving safety and quality. 

Here is how Telecoms Can Keep Over-the-Top in Check

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Why I don’t use Skype much largely is the result of a savvy move from a telecom provider in Southeast Asia.

I have many friends in Asia, many of whom are not exactly rolling in money. So they can’t afford a data plan on their cell phone to use Skype. But what they all can do is use Facebook, and they all can use Facebook because many telecoms in the region give Facebook access away for free while charging for other Internet access such as web browsing. This is a good way to slowly upsell consumers—and to indirectly get me to use Facebook even more than I normally would.

Similar value-added services through selective access to particular mobile applications can be seen here in the U.S., too. T-Mobile, for instance, has recently begun offering unlimited streaming Internet radio even for customers who can’t step up for the larger data plans that normally would be needed to support Internet radio on a mobile device.

This is good business. It is a way that operators can help fend off the over-the-top challenge that threatens to turn telecoms into commodity businesses.

The Cat Video Index: A Simple View of Data Costs

By: Andy Porter, Product Manager in the Payment, Policy and Charging department at Alcatel-Lucent

The Economist has its famous Big Mac index for comparing buying power across countries. But I wanted an index that focuses on the cost of mobile data usage. That meant I had to find a data-charging equivalent of the Big Mac. I needed an item that crosses cultural boundaries, is universally understood and is available worldwide.

I considered many possibilities. But the answer arrived when I saw my daughter laughing at a video of a cat playing a piano. Obviously, the mobile data equivalent of the Big Mac is the YouTube video. It’s a universally available service that is easily measured in quantitative terms, making it ideal for comparing mobile data costs.

In honor of my daughter, I chose the classic “piano-playing cat” as the baseline video. And by the way, this cat video has been viewed over 34 million times, proving its suitability as a baseline.

Who's Afraid of Interoperability?

By: Mike Schabel, VP, Small Cells, Alcatel-Lucent

In our never ending quest to deliver higher capacity networks and more effectively deliver a true broadband experience to wireless consumers, our industry continuously engages in vigorous debates about new technology, architecture, and processes followed by rapid acceptance and adoption.

I only look to small cells as an example, where the industry has quickly evolved from a macro-centric view that small cells were an unnecessary nuisance, to the current view where they are accepted as necessary for scaling the network and create compelling new opportunities for network optimization, efficiency and applications. With the small cell debate behind us, we have turned to new ones: How should we use unlicensed or shared spectrum? How do we enable a centralized SON layer in the field that works across multiple vendors?

Is the Connected Car Going to Replace your Smartphone?

By: Anthony Trinh (@Trinh_Anthony), Integrated Marketing Assistant, Alcatel-Lucent 

What if you didn’t need to have your phone beside you at all times? What if instead, you can use your own car to connect with you, direct you and protect you wherever you go?

Well, by 2022, a Telefónica Industry Report (PDF) predicts that there will be 1.8 billion automotive Machine-to-Machine (M2M) connections that can do just that. This will comprise 700 million Connected Cars and 1.1 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices for services such as navigation, insurance, stolen vehicle recovery (SVR) and infotainment. In fact, Machina Research predicts that by 2020, 90% of new cars will feature built-in connectivity platforms, growing from less than 10% today.

Connected Cars will not replace smartphones - merely it’s a way to extend the IoT connectivity and bring the everyday lifestyle right to the car. Ellis Lindsay’s blog on Connected Cars as an everyday lifestyle does a great job of explaining this concept. He goes into detail about connected cars giving us the ability to link our life experiences – whether it’s our deadlines, travel plans, monthly payments or Facebook notifications – to wherever we are and wherever we go.

Connected Cars as an Everyday Lifestyle

By: Ellis Lindsay, General Manager, Customer Experience Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent 

I drive to work and back home in my car every day. I tune in to a radio station for traffic news and upcoming events nearby. Like many of you I’m sure, this is a typical everyday activity. And like never before, we are connected to our home, our families, our phones, our work and our friends in a network that seems to be always on. Shouldn’t we be in a lifestyle where we are consistently connected to the everyday activities in our lives? Well, let me introduce you to the world of Connected Cars.

Enterprise Service Gateways Help Operators Extend Their Mobile VPN Offerings

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The emergence of cloud computing and mobility, not to mention bring-your-own-device trend (BYOD), has introduced a strong need for mobile virtual private networks (VPNs). Yet, most operators are only able to offer mobile VPNs to larger customers since their fixed-line VPN infrastructure is often separate from their cellular infrastructure.

One solution to this problem, outlined in a recent TechZine article, Mobile VPNs for Enterprises of All Sizes, by Jan Vandehoudt, Principal Consulting Engineer and Patrick McCabe, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent, is for mobile network operators to use an enterprise services gateway (ESG).

Packet Microwave Rings Get Resurgence with New Standard

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Packet microwave rings are catching on as the network topology of choice for network operators when it comes to microwave backhaul networks.

Daisy chain and tree network topologies have historically been used for packet microwave due to bandwidth inefficiencies associated with the SDH/SONET protocols that historically made ring networks inefficient. All that has change with the introduction of ITU-T G.8032v2, a new standard that takes the place of SDH/SONET networking capabilities.

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