|Asia-Pacific I 2013
|How to make mobile broadband profitable
|Head of Asia Pacific Region
|Nokia Siemens Networks
Paul Tyler is the Head of Asia Pacific Region at Nokia Siemens Networks; he leads all of Nokia Siemens Networks’ operations in the Asia Pacific region. At NSN, Mr Tyler has also led sales for Network Systems, APAC and has served as head of Nokia Siemens Networks in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands. Mr Tyler is also the non-executive chairman of the Australian Securities Exchange listed BigAir Group (BGL), Australia’s largest operator of fixed wireless broadband services.
Mr Tyler began his career as a software testing engineer at Alcatel Australia, and held a wide variety of roles, spanning customer support, R&D, project management, sales, business development and general management.
Paul Tyler holds an Executive MBA from the National University of Ireland and a Bachelor in Electrical Engineering from the University of New South Wales.
By 2020 subscribers will expect one gigabyte of per day mobile data. Operators fear they will not be able to get a reasonable return on the constant investments they must make to upgrade their networks. New technology for both the networks and their management can help. With real-time information about customer needs, dynamic response to network demand, more efficient use of existing spectrum and more and smaller cells the one gigabyte per day data goal can be profitably met.
The growth of mobile broadband is a double-edged sword for operators – it is a new revenue generation opportunity, but it is also unbalancing the operators’ traditional revenue mix. According to Informa, operators today are getting 73 per cent of revenue from voice services. However, as the entire revenue mix shifts towards data, operators’ existing business models, which rely on core voice and messaging services, are challenged. Also, as usage grows over mobile networks, incessant investments to increase mobile broadband capacities are not an efficient and cost effective solution for profitability.
Experts expect that by 2020 every subscriber will demand one gigabyte of data per day over their mobile connection. Mobile broadband can no longer be given away as flat-rate data package. As the network evolves, it must deliver a much lower cost per delivered bit, be highly scalable and be able to adapt easily to fluctuating user demands over time and location. They must offer ubiquitous connectivity with rock-solid quality. While operator revenue is predicted to grow at single digit rates, demand for one GB of personalized data per day, for every user, will put severe pressure on costs and service quality.
So the bottom line is that operators require a profitable mobile broadband ecosystem.
A fluid network
Like a bottle mineral water, the coverage, capacity and services in today’s networks are bottled up – frozen in individual radio cells, in separate core applications and stuck on transport layers. Not only does this create capacity bottlenecks, it hampers the ability of operators to deliver broadband capacity to the right place at the right time to satisfy customer demand.
A ‘fluid net’ breaks these conventional network capacity and resource limitations, achieving more flexibility, higher efficiency, lower costs and a superior customer experience. Fluid nets create networks that can adapt in an instant to changing customer needs, using existing capital investments more efficiently and generating entirely new revenue sources for operators. The network uses its flexibility to maintain a high level of user experience by responding to traffic peaks caused by such things as new applications or short-lived events and incidents.
There are four key enablers to making networks more fluid:
Self-aware, self-adapting: The network recognizes where demand is coming from and instantly re-adjusts itself to deliver the right capacity, coverage and services to the right places.
Software-defined applications on multi-purpose hardware: Software-defined network applications run on multi-purpose hardware, either COTS ATCA (commercial-off-the-shelf Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture) based or other generic platforms, enabling processing capacity to be matched to changing capacity and/or technology demand.
Inter-linked architecture: Infrastructure elements are extensively inter-connected to allow capacity and processing to flow freely across the network.
Investment-protection, evolution: fluid nets should take a fully evolutionary approach that is non-disruptive, yet also transformational.
As we aim to drive down cost per byte costs, there are a number of enhancements that can be made with fluid network technology for mobile broadband
• Load-balancing in multiband networks for WCDMA and LTE optimizes the usage of the spectrum resources across multiple frequency bands. Think of an operator using both 800 and 1800MHz bands for LTE from a single BTS (base transceiver station). This approach ensures an optimal distribution of users across both frequencies.
• Quality of Service (QoS) differentiation helps manage and differentiate resources during busy hours, improving congestion control in real time.
• With small cells, operators can meet demands for coverage and service quality.
Monetizing mobile broadband starts with developing the availability of mobile broadband coverage in many underserved areas. The usage of lower frequencies with larger cell sizes is essential when bringing broadband efficiently to less densely populated areas. Following HSPA and LTE on the 900MHz and 850MHz bands, the harmonized approach of the APT 700 MHz band for LTE across Asia Pacific, Latin America and other parts of the world is a unique opportunity for the industry. By offering smooth LTE (4G) rollouts using the ’Digital Dividend’ in Asia and other parts of the world, operators will be able to offer 4G mobile broadband services across underserved rural areas, helping Asia generate an extra trillion US dollars of GDP before 2020.
Customer Experience Management (CEM) on demand
CEM on Demand is able to draw customer insight data from multiple sources, including the network, service and device performance, real-time subscriber experience and service use. This goldmine of information is critical to identify where, when and how to focus improvements in network and business processes that will reap the highest return at each stage of the customer lifecycle.
With real insight driving these business processes, operators can make fundamental changes in their operations. As processes become automated, holistic and personalized, operators can act rather than react on the basis of immediate, real-time data from across their organization. By monitoring the performance of the network and services in real time, operators gain valuable insight for a proactive response.
As an example, suppose there is a problem in the end user’s device configuration – maybe they cannot roam or access their content. The network automatically recognizes the problem and raises an alarm. This then triggers the device management system to access configuration data to identify the incorrect setting and then send the right data to the device in real time. The issue is corrected proactively, sometimes even before the customer realizes there is a problem and calls the operator’s helpline.
CEM on demand for fluid networks – bringing both worlds into one
With customer experience information from fluid nets, operators gain important insights to make smarter, timely investments in new capacity. This new approach allows operators to make better network investment decisions more quickly, and execute them faster.
Today, many operators work in silos while planning for and managing customer demand. As a result, the costs and timing of capacity investments are not tied to how they can improve customer experience.
CEM extends traditional network and operational approaches to include the subscribers’ perspective and improve the operator’s ability to make resilient decisions.
As an illustration, what can an operator do for a high-value customer who commutes to work in a metropolitan area, but is regularly frustrated by low speed when downloading such large files as email attachments or video, even though her smartphone supports HSPA and shows excellent network coverage?
With CEM on Demand for Fluid net, network operations personnel can regularly monitor data performance in business districts and see when it is degrading and that many other customers are also having the same problem when downloading. Marketing and operations teams can see which customers are affected, and the revenue they bring and can prioritize service to the high value customers experiencing service degradation. This triggers network and field operations staffs into action to resolve the problem. They implement measures to make better use of an available frequency band.
Since critical information about users and the network was readily available, the operations team can reduce the time it would take to implement a fix from months to weeks and management can direct investment dollars to where revenue potential is highest. In the end, the high value customers make fewer calls to customer care, enjoy the service and tell their friends!
The evolution of mobile broadband
While LTE is definitely already changing the way how people experience multimedia-rich services via mobile broadband, this is just the beginning. LTE, Long Term Evolution, is not just a name, it’s a programme. There is a smooth evolutionary path from LTE and TD-LTE to LTE-Advanced; LTE-Advanced will also evolve within the coming years.
With the TD-LTE speed record of 1.6Gbps we have a glimpse of the future. Step by step, LTE networks will evolve to ever higher data rates, capacity and efficiency. Like HSPA which has been continuously evolving since the first HSDPA networks, LTE will evolve based on the evolution of the standard from the initial commercial LTE networks to Release 10, for the initial LTE-Advanced features to Release 12 and beyond, for the further evolution of LTE-Advanced.
In parallel to the evolution of the standard, which is essential for interoperability of user devices and networks on a global level, there is also the evolution of the network topology. While the standard sets a framework to drive spectral efficiency, small cells will complement the currently prevailing macro networks and add significant network capacity. A combination of spectral efficiency, cells and spectrum – each increased by a factor of ten, will lead to the 1000 times greater network capacity needed to serve each user with one GB per day.
Unprecedented economic uncertainty, and the impact of rapidly growing data demand on their networks, have operators grappling to find ways to deliver business results.
Hard questions are being asked in boardrooms: How can we make investments pay off as revenue growth slows? Do we really need the cost and disruption of LTE now, or can we make more money from our 3G? Do our investments actually improve the quality of services in the eyes of users and, if so, why can’t we see that in revenue growth?
Operators around the world ask the same question – Can operators ensure their investments in mobile broadband are profitable?
The simple answer is ‘Yes’. There is hard work ahead, but by improving the network quality, and the customer’s experience and satisfaction operators can drive up revenue and profitability