Next Generation Communications Blog


Why CSPs Will Retain a Strong Position in Video Services

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Facilities-based service providers that own the access network are ideally positioned to distribute video both today and in the future, according to Chris Croupe, who works in strategic marketing at Alcatel-Lucent. Video comes in a variety of forms, its applications continue to expand, and this kind of content continues to multiply, Croupe notes in his recent TechZine posting, Future of video content: Evolution toward 2020.

Calls leveraging video have become widespread, he adds, noting that 59 percent of smartphone users under 35 years of age make at least one video call a month, and 37 percent of this group does so at least once a week.

Sponsored Data Charging - Disrupting the Mobile Industry

By: Barbara Sampson, Senior Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent

New Service Provider Revenue Monetization Model

Just as LTE has evolved to be the predominant technology for mobile broadband providers -- generating an average data volume per user of 168% higher than 3G data – so must the traditional charging model change. One charging model growing in popularity is Sponsored Data Charging. 

Sponsored Data Charging enables mobile subscribers to view, stream, and benefit from sponsored content and use applications over the mobile service provider’s network without that data usage coming out of their monthly plan. The data charges that a subscriber would pay for the sponsored content are paid instead by the third-party provider owning the content. Even more importantly, a subscriber can test out certain sponsored applications and features for a short time to determine whether to subscribe, without impacting monthly data-plan limits.

Not only is Sponsored Data Charging built for massive broadband usage from all kinds of connected devices, it also can support emerging technologies such as VoLTE and NFV. Key target industries include advertising, retail, media, entertainment, healthcare, and financial services.

VoLTE Challenges: The Case for Integrated Policy, Charging and Diameter Signaling

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

VoLTE Challenges: The Case for Integrated Policy, Charging and Diameter Signaling

Hopefully, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has arrived or is coming to your preferred mobile service provider.  As mobile networks transform into end-to-end IP ones, the business case for VoLTE as a means for mobile operators to provide differentiated services, including high definition voice and multiple media ones, has become compelling and taken on a sense of urgency. 

Indeed, it is being viewed strategically as a way for service providers to distinguish their services on the basis of Quality of Experience (QoE) from 3G and OTT voice apps. It is also seen as providing competitive advantage because of its ability to enable end users to seamlessly move from a voice call to a video call, or shift from one device to another in the midst of the conversation.  It is why interest in accelerating VoLTE deployments is so high. 

However, network transformations are not easy.  VoLTE deployment and operations is an interesting case in point.  It brings unique challenges for service providers related to policy control, charging and Diameter signaling control.  Steffen Paulus, Director of Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent has some interesting insights worth sharing on the need for integrated policy, charging and Diameter signaling in a virtualized solution, as the path forward for VoLTE success.  This is particularly relevant in light of Alcatel-Lucent’s recent launch of its End-to-End Voice over LTE (E2E VoLTE) solution that is an integral part of the Rapport multimedia real-time communications platform which has been architected specifically to me service provider and enterprise needs.

VoWiFi extends and enriches LTE services

By: David E. Nowoswiat, Senior Product and Solutions Marketing Manager, IP Routing & Transport, and  Ed Elkin, Head of Marketing for IP Communication, Alcatel-Lucent

The growing importance and usage of Wi-Fi™ is spurring rapid development in voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi) to complement robust VoLTE services. Mobile device manufacturers are taking advantage of Wi-Fi to solidify their relationship with consumers and enterprises, so mobile network operators (MNOs) need to act quickly to secure a share in the hot Wi-Fi market. By developing a strategy that encompasses Wi-Fi, MNOs can leverage their most important asset - their LTE network - to deliver a seamless experience for subscribers while leveraging their virtualized IMS investment to create  new revenue opportunities for themselves.

Mobile World Congress 2015 - What's the Next Big Thing?

By: Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

In doing preparations for what many have called “the circus” aka the annual Mobile World Congress (MWC)—which is arguably now the most important industry trade event as the world goes mobile and which takes place in Barcelona March 2-5—the excitement is already palpable.  From all of the new cool devices of all shapes and sizes to interesting advances on things like antenna technology, Network Functions Virtualization, carrier aggregation, etc., the eye candy alone is almost overwhelming in terms of imagining the possibilities.  However, MWC always is tantalizing because not only does it answer what we will see in terms of capabilities in the near-term, but also because of the questions it raises about the longer term.

In this regard I was struck by a recent blog by Michael Peeters, CTO, Alcatel-Lucent Wireless, entitled I think appropriately, The Circus is in Town. Peeters’ main point is summed up nicely where he says in characterizing his view on what’s the next big thing that will be the buzz of the show that, “ thing is certain: its story will be about removing place and time constraints we took for granted.”

Small Cells are Key to Attracting and Keeping SMB and Large Enterprise Customers

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

To say that operators of macro-cellular physical networks are facing all type of challenges these days would be an understatement.  These range from spectrum scarcity issues, competitive pricing pressures, the need to build out LTE networks ASAP as platforms for new services and to meet the insatiable appetite of users for things like streamed and real-time video, getting ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) etc.  They also are busy figuring out how to keep users, particularly enterprise users on their smart devices always and all ways on their networks in an increasingly fickle world where alternatives abound, including for value-added traffic lost to Over-the-Top (OTT) providers.  

It is to keep enterprise customers on the mobile service provider networks for enhanced services that good in-building wireless solutions are seen as both a powerful business tool and a competitive advantage.  This is particularly true when it comes to retaining small-to-medium business customers (SMBs).

Helping Customers Help Themselves: The Era of Self-Service

By: Jessica Verbruggen, Integrated Marketing Assistant at Alcatel-Lucent Motive

While the Internet and all of the technologies that have stemmed from its creation have served to make our lives easier in many ways, they can also be very confusing and frustrating at times. In these times, people have traditionally turned to call centers to get customer support. In today’s increasingly digitized world though, fewer people are relying on this form of assisted service. Contacting a call center tends to be time consuming and, often times, frustrating. Traditional customer support is not very well-suited to handling the millions of very specific questions that arise during device usage every day. Enter mobile self-service.

There are few areas of our economy today that haven't been touched by the growing self-service industry. Many, it seems, prefer to resolve their issues themselves. People relish the ability to “do it themselves” because it affords them a certain level of control over their devices and services that was previously not attainable.

Addressing the threat from OTT voice apps with VoLTE

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent 

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and rich communications services can help mobile service providers reclaim market share being lost to over-the-top (OTT) applications.

Voice and text revenues are declining as mobile service providers (MSPs) face an unprecedented challenge from OTT communication apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and lesser known entrants, including WhatsApp and LINE. At first, MSPs enjoyed net gains because the use of these apps had generated significant data revenue. But times have changed. While still a source of revenue, these apps have begun to erode MSP’s native voice and messaging revenue.

To illustrate, let’s look at WhatsApp, who recently debuted its business model for mobile virtual network operators. In this model, WhatsApp (now owned by Facebook) provides voice and messaging services while leasing wireless services from a mobile operator. This means that MSPs are left with price per bit as their sole differentiator.

NFV INSIGHTS: The right SDN is right for NFV

By: Roland Mestric, Director, Video Solutions Marketing

It feels like it was just a few months ago when you could read articles in the trade press lumping together SDN and NFV with NFV being a form of SDN or vice versa.  Yes, both somehow are about virtualization and about converting hardware into software. Today – after numerous proofs-of-concept run by service provides around the globe – we know the role of SDN as virtually indispensable for NFV solutions that aspire to deliver the kind of agility and operational simplification we all expect from NFV. Only SDN can deliver quickly enough the (virtual) networks needed for newly deployed network functions. Alcatel-Lucent has recently demonstrated a complete virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) including a virtual IMS/VoLTE deployed in less than 30 minutes.


By: Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

Today’s consumers want faster mobile broadband, and lots of it. That’s the dominant fact shaping Mobile Service Providers’ competitive strategies. So let’s look at what you can offer these valuable subscribers with voice over LTE (VoLTE).

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