Next Generation Communications Blog

Wireless

Sponsored Data Plans Can Help Keep Mobile Subscribers Connected

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor 

It’s no secret that many of us these days are very attached to our smartphones and tablets. Yet for all the entertainment and value these devices – and the applications, information, and people they can access – provide, nobody likes getting bills from their wireless carriers. That’s especially true when the dollar figure at the bottom of those bills increase.

But there are some options mobile carriers might want to consider to help keep their subscribers’ data plan bills more manageable, and keep their customers happier. One way to allow for that is by introducing sponsored data charging programs.

Sponsored data charging programs are an effective way mobile carriers can help their subscribers justify the cost of connectivity, while growing their own user bases and expanding their ecosystems to include more application providers and marketers. That’s the word from Barbara Sampson, senior marketing manager for policy and charging PLM marketing, and Thomas King, manager of the policy and charging portfolio, at Alcatel-Lucent. The two wrote a recent TechZine posting, Operators benefit from sponsored data charging, that details how mobile operators can prosper with these types of programs.

Next Gen Wireless is Fueling African Developing Nation Growth

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

There tends to be a prejudice in the press for covering the latest and greatest technology and how it is being used in the developed world. The reality is that especially when it comes to wireless, the impact of having ubiquitous and affordable access to communications, not just for voice but for data (aka the Internet), is busy transforming the developed world in ways that may be even more profound.

In fact, in the developing world, connectivity is the lifeblood of economic progress improving not just commerce itself but also the delivery of healthcare and as a tool for rapidly improving the education of young and old alike.  Data is where it is at, and 4G has become as important in the developing world as in the developed. 

A great example of this is in the work Alcatel-Lucent has done with aggressive mobile services provider Smile in Tanzania and the Ivory Coast.  One interesting factoid is that in Tanzania, for every 1 landline subscriber there are 166 mobile phone subscribers.  In short, the age old problem of increasing tele-density in the developing world as the engine for progress is being conquered and with impressive speed that has opened the eyes of man

Small Cells Fill the Gap in Mobile Network Infrastructure

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

There will be 70 billion connected devices globally by 2020, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent posting. That’s a lot of demand on operator networks.

“We know that there’s a new market and new problem here to solve,” said Mike Schabel, senior vice-president of small cells for the wireless division at Alcatel-Lucent. “To handle the expected volume, we would need to significantly increase the number of cell towers used in the network. So we made [base stations] smaller.”

Small cells represent the future of the network for operators. They are cheap, easy to deploy, and can be adapted to deliver the right amount of coverage for an area of heavy use.

For In-Building Cellular Small Cells Have You Covered

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Large office buildings sometimes encounter a troubling problem in the form of poor cellular reception for employees. With atriums, business space in basements, internal walls and glass windows, more than one “modern architectural masterpiece” has discovered that workers lose cell coverage when they enter the building.

Of course, there are steps that can fix such problems even after a building is constructed. One of the best options is small cells technology for good in-building cellular coverage.

Analyzing the mobile devices connected to today's network

By: Patrick McCabe, Senior Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent

We know from our own experience and from anecdotal evidence that mobile devices are proliferating and that mobile data usage is growing rapidly. This tremendous change necessitates change to the underlying network, too. But in order to make the best choices in terms of infrastructure investment, mobile service providers must have accurate data showing what devices are being used and which consume the most data and signaling resources. 

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.

How a "Wi-Fi first" strategy benefits EMEA MSOs

By: Steve Davidson, European Marketing Director for Cable, Alcatel-Lucent

From original Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting

A Wi-Fi first strategy can help multi-system operators (MSOs) remain competitive in the evolving marketplace.  Wi-Fi enabled devices default to using the cable operator’s Wi-Fi network for voice, and cellular equipped devices can switch to cellular when out of Wi-Fi range.

Although nuances in the business drivers for adopting such a strategy vary by region globally, this model turns the traditional cellular voice paradigm on its head.

Just like other communications or media industries, MSOs face a dynamic and extremely competitive market. As a result, in EMEA, they have evolved their end-user offerings to embrace market-leading fixed high speed internet access, Wi-Fi connectivity, and bundled mobile cellular services using mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partnerships.

As the pace of change continues to accelerate, subscribers have made a widespread move to Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and tablets. A European commission study stated that 71% of all EU wireless data traffic in 2012 was delivered to smartphones and tablets using Wi-Fi. This is expected to rise to 78% by 2016.

European MSOs have already invested in Wi-Fi and offer data connectivity services in and out of the home. This not only is a customer retention strategy, but also lets MSOs build out further value added services (VAS) and can reduce data costs of their MVNO agreements.  So if we now contemplate the delivery of voice to these Wi-Fi enabled devices, how do we get started?

Existing Mobility Assets

Get more from public safety packet backhauling

By: Jérôme Brouet, Public Safety Solution Director, Alcatel-Lucent

From original Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting

Increased number of security threats, demand for greater efficiency, and requirement for cross-agency coordination all point to the need to modernize public safety communications networks toward IP and broadband. And, backhauling is at the forefront of this evolution.

The rationale for the evolution of public safety backhaul networks is twofold:

  • In the short-term, existing voice-centric PMR/LMR networks need upgrading to support more data-centric applications.
  • But they also need to get ready for upcoming deployment of wireless broadband 4G/LTE systems complementing existing narrowband PMR/LMR systems.

By deploying a converged MPLS-based backhaul network now, public safety organizations can address current and future requirements for public safety IP communications while controlling costs. And when properly designed, mission-critical public safety transport networks also feature more efficient and more resilient support of legacy TDM-based applications.

Employ backhauling as a strategic asset

5 models to speed LTE public safety adoption

By: Jérôme Brouet, Public Safety Solution Director, Alcatel-Lucent
From original Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting

Public safety professionals require the highest level of reliable, multimedia mobile communications to enhance their operational effectiveness. And while standard based long term evolution (LTE) provides the most cost-effective and secure way to support these broadband communications, transitioning to this new technology will demand a complex technical, operational, and business evolution for the public safety community.

Why LTE – and why now?

Public safety communications are at a turning point. The most urgent events – planned and unplanned – require more than mission-critical voice to improve first responders’ efficiency. Real-time imagery, video, geo-localization, and high-speed access to private cloud-based information and applications are becoming essential to fulfill first responders’ missions.

Existing private mobile radio (PMR) systems have limited capabilities to deliver this, because they were designed to primarily support narrowband mission-critical voice.

For LTE, it’s a different story. LTE can complement existing PMR networks to dramatically enhance operational effectiveness and coordination within a secure infrastructure shared by cooperating agencies.

Can the vEPC be deployed in the LTE consumer network?

By: Keith Allan, Director IP Mobile Core Product Strategy, Alcatel-Lucent

This article discusses the progress in the development and operational management of the vEPC to support the LTE consumer network. It answers the question: Is the vEPC commercially viable in large-scale, LTE network deployments? At Mobile World Congress 2015, Alcatel-Lucent will show a live demonstration of vEPC dynamic scaling together with simplified NFV management and orchestration.

Over the past several years, I’ve met with many mobile network operators (MNOs) and discussed their plans for virtualizing the evolved packet core (EPC). It’s clear from the more recent conversations that MNOs are now convinced that the vEPC is both financially and technically viable for their networks.  But is the vEPC ready for the MNO’s LTE consumer network?  In this article, I’ll discuss why I now think that’s possible.

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