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Voice-over-LTE fragmentation could slow deployments
|18 декабря 2009|
Despite the fact that data traffic is growing exponentially, mobile operators are witnessing a divergence of data revenues and traffic load curves due to flat rate price models. Thus, network efficiency must improve in order to ensure that the cost-per-bit to deliver a service is attained at a bare minimum in comparison to the existing cellular technologies.
Many opine that the next generation long term evolution (LTE) technology can achieve these goals, with the technology currently being trialled by several operators worldwide.
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan, Multiple Options but No Clear Winner for Voice and SMS over LTE, notes that due to the economic crisis, many operators are currently unwilling to deploy LTE that is service-limited - in particular on services that are cash cows i.e. voice and short message services (SMS). Hence, the value of deploying LTE and then limiting the users to basic 2G/3G services is pointless.
"Regardless of the operator timelines for LTE deployment, there are several pending issues plaguing LTE, including lack of support for voice and SMS, incremental costs for backhaul capacity to support LTE data traffic, lack of sufficient spectrum allocation (a minimum of 20MHz) and a consensus of a globally harmonised frequency band for LTE deployment," notes Frost & Sullivan ICT Programme Manager Luke Thomas.
SMS was never an intrinsic part of LTE (though all the current cellular broadband technologies support SMS) despite EU regulations for SMS requirements for roaming and to support customer-based service messages to avoid "Bill Shock". As SMS is used as the primary mechanism for advertising, remote device management and configuration updates, it will be quite a challenge for operators to deploy LTE without supporting SMS.
"Of all the concerns over LTE deployment, the lack of support for voice and SMS over LTE should be addressed first, as these segments currently constitute nearly 85 percent of global mobile service revenues," advises Thomas. "Key participants of the mobile and wireless industry, in particular mobile operators, should band together to resolve the existing fragmentation of voice and SMS delivery over LTE, so that it benefits all the stakeholders involved."
Otherwise, the lack of consensus could be an impediment to the large-scale roll out of LTE, thereby allowing alternative technologies such as Mobile WiMAX to take advantage of the situation, and significantly penetrate the European market.
This Frost & Sullivan study focuses on six options that are provided by various industry participants to resolve the voice and SMS issues over LTE, so that operators do not undergo the risk of deploying LTE networks without being able to realise the promised cost-per-bit efficiency in delivering next generation value-added services. The various options considered in the study are Circuit-switched fall back (CSFB), Voice over LTE via generic access (VoLGA), Fast Track solution, Mavenir and Acme Packet's MSC TAS/IMS Solution, Voice and SMS over IMS (VoSoIMS), and One Voice Profile.