The explosion of data services that transformed wireline services is now occurring for wireless operators, and this trend is intensified by the changing usage patterns of young end users, who often prefer data services, such as instant messaging, to voice services. But how do operators make a transition from their 3G CDMA networks to LTE (News - Alert)?
According to experts at Alcatel-Lucent, wireless operators need a migration strategy that addresses their own unique needs concerning time to market, choice of migration path, the importance of a technology ecosystem, VoIP and seamless interworking, as well as spectrum efficiency and CAPEX.
Young wireless users are playing a key role in the evolution to next-generation networks, by transforming the way voice and data services are accessed and used for both business and consumer applications.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) whitepaper predicts, over the next five years, the “millennial” market segment, aged 11 to 33, will have a profound effect on wireless services. Simple mobile data services are currently growing at annual rates over 40 percent. While still needed, voice services have been trumped by text messaging, IM, video and social networks like the dominant site Facebook (News - Alert).
A Yankee Group (News - Alert) survey found that nearly 80 percent of responding enterprises now provide mobile access, plan to upgrade to mobile access or are evaluating the possibility for the future. Business users are looking for enriched Quality of Experience (QoE) and service, and Alcatel-Lucent primary research suggests that they will be willing to pay more for these services and applications, when speed is important to the application.
Further, a growing number of businesses across many sectors are investigating M2M applications to transform the way they do business, according to Alcatel-Lucent officials. Given their diversity, M2M applications require a wide range of products, connectivity and support. According to Alcatel-Lucent, wireless operators must deploy next-generation mobile networks that can meet the expectations of younger users, while remaining cost effective in a changing operating environment.
The good news is: nearly all GSM, W-CDMA, TD-SCDMA and CDMA operators are embracing LTE as their preferred next-generation mobile network technology. This widespread acceptance will facilitate development of a robust ecosystem of chipset, device and infrastructure vendors, helping to support successful introduction of LTE.
Alcatel-Lucent is promoting development of the LTE ecosystem through the ngConnect Program, which was officially launched with 14 member companies at Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) 2009 in Barcelona. The goals of creating this open LTE ecosystem, company officials said, include:
• Attracting open innovation;
• Enabling new business models;
• Supporting continuous sharing of experience between wireline and wireless access;
• Accelerating adoption of new devices and services; and
• Reducing costs for addressing complex customer requirements.
Alcatel-Lucent officials offer that CDMA technology provides a “mature, stable and seamless path to LTE.” With its narrow bandwidth requirements, CDMA technology facilitates in-band subscriber transition, according to the whitepaper, and operators can use 1.25 MHz for CDMA and leave the rest of their spectrum open.
Operators will implement LTE in affordable stages, company officials said, with LTE deployments beginning in areas where data traffic is most concentrated to minimize cost per Mb and maximize spectrum efficiency. Then LTE expansion will proceed gradually into less critical areas, as budgets allow, company officials said.
Alcatel-Lucent’s comprehensive product portfolio offers CDMA RAN, LTE RAN, META, LTE EPC and IMS VoIP solutions.
“CDMA technologies provide a mature, smooth and stable evolution path, which offers investment protection, flexibility and important advantages for remaining competitive during the evolution to LTE,” company officials said.
For more on experiencing an end-to-end approach with LTE, visit Alcatel-Lucent’s Next Generation Communications community on TMCnet.
Erin Harrison is a Senior Editor with TMC. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Erin Harrison