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Archive for the ‘Mobile News’ Category

VoWiFi: A Win – Win for Subscribers & Mobile Operators

Posted on: September 29th, 2015 by Mobile Communications

Extending voice and messaging coverage by taking advantage of Wi-Fi availability in the home, office and in public hot spots offers a number of key benefits. WiFi deployments around the world are growing rapidly, providing more opportunities for consumers to immediately connect to a resource where they know they can achieve better service and potentially cost savings.
The decision to deploy Voice over WiFi is influenced by factors that might include:

1) Coverage impact – Persistent complaints from a significant portion of a subscriber base may make VoWiFi an attractive alternative that needs to be prioritized.
2) Capital constraints – Costs for additional towers and more femtocells may be offset by a VoWiFi initiative.
3) Operational costs – MVNO’s can improve their bottom lines by offloading traffic
4) Competitive pressure – New services such as video needed to compete with encroaching competition might mean that a robust VoLTE solution is required, with VoWiFi contributing as a supporting feature.

The question of VoWiFi or VoLTE first is one that can become a point of contention. While a complete VoLTE rollout including adding an IMS, EPC and other infrastructure to the network provides a solid technical foundation for VoWiFI as well as other services, it comes with a significant learning curve, capital expenditure and deployment timeline. However, a rapid deployment with an OTT solution, while satisfying a short term need, doesn’t fit in the long term strategy for an operator.

Operators also need to consider how they are positioning themselves for the future. Are you ubiquitous and seen as the service of choice? LTE enables excellent voice calling on peer-to-peer and OTT services. As LTE spreads so will the opportunity for consumer choice. If an operator does not provide voice services where a customer is looking for them, the customer will choose an alternative service provider that does.

Unique in the industry, NewNet has VoWiFi solutions for mobile operators that will integrate into their existing 2G & 3G infrastructure. These VoWiFi solutions are fully compatible with a future VoLTE, IMS and RCS strategy. Operators can and should start deploying VoWiFi now without waiting for a perfect solution – the OTT competition isn’t waiting, and their usage is growing. Review the alternatives and consider the value taking into account the bottom-line financial impact as well as the more subjective benefits such as improved customer satisfaction that can be attained by adding VoWiFi support for subscribers.

LTE, VoLTE & RCS: Its Evolution not Revolution.

Posted on: July 18th, 2014 by Mobile Communications

Operator product teams have been fighting among themselves about what will be the technology and revenue generator of the future – LTE, VoLTE or RCS?

The product teams charged with the deployment of LTE look like heroes right now, as they continually grow their revenues driven by consumer demand for cheap mobile data. However, in all the excitement, they appear to be ignoring the significant future cannibalization of Voice and Messaging revenues as competitive OTT services come into the mobile market. This process is being aided significantly by the emergence of smart phone platforms and the very high quality, low cost mobile data network the LTE product team is deploying.

For a while the Voice over LTE followers argued that, “HD-Voice” is the killer app available only with the deployment of high quality LTE and all IP networks. Little attention was paid to benefits of an all IP messaging service – preferring just to implement the existing SMS features on an IP network.

To a great extent, even this has not been accomplished either. Very few have deployed an IP to SMS Gateway and they continue to operate in circuit switched mode. Like iMessage, they could have helped smart phone users to lever their data plans to cut their roaming SMS charges. In fact by not doing that, they have forced their subscribers to look for alternative ways to communicate – especially where there are hefty roaming charges or in the cases where SMS plans don’t come as unlimited and bundled with their mobile subscriptions.

The RCS followers, argue that in light of the abundance of rich features and competition from the “Over The Top (OTT)” players, the right way to go is the deployment of Rich Messaging using the all IP network, and then positioned Voice and Video as new innovative features. Requiring operators to compete alongside the OTT service offerings in these areas based on their reputation and quality of service.

In the last year, we’ve begun to see the emergence of a combined solution, and I for one, say it is about time. There has been no significant improvement to either voice or mobile messaging functionality by mobile operators for the past 10 years. Yet, VoIP and Messaging competitors evolve by releasing new features and functionality every 12-16 weeks. LTE, HD-Voice & RCS never had to be to be an either or decision, it should have been all three simultaneously.

We have begun to see some of the world’s leading telecommunications companies including Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and China Mobile publicly committing to launches of LTE, VoLTE and RCS as evolutions of their existing service offerings. OEM manufacturers and infrastructure suppliers (including our partner D2 Technologies) are responding to these developments by demonstrating all IP phones that support both VoLTE & RCS. Traditional messaging infrastructure players such as NewNet are paying attention by adding RCS to their product lines and providing interworking between RCS and their traditional messaging products.

Following six months of close co-operation, in June 2014, NewNet Communications Technologies acquired NewPace Development Technology Inc. and its Rich Communication Services line of products. NewPace brings to NewNet a background in SIP, VoIP, telecommunications and instant messaging product experience.

NewNet’s KryptonConnect platform (based on NewPace’s proven and accredited technology) complements the existing NewNet Lithium, Mercury and NimbleVox product lines. The combined solution ensures operators can deploy an “all-IP” network with, VoLTE and RCS while maintaining compatibility with traditional messaging solutions based on circuit switched 2G & 3G networks.

NewPace is evolving into NewNet, which reminds me that everything in the communications ecosystem is evolving, is your carrier’s product strategy evolving with the ecosystem?

– Brent

Are We Letting App Developers Take Over the Telecommunications Industry?

Posted on: March 3rd, 2014 by Mobile Communications

Mobile operators have to keep their eyes on a lot of different moving components within their business – it’s a challenging job that requires one foot in the present and the other in the future. My observation is the area that gets the most focus is the one with provides the most sizzle, and becomes the concentration because there is an underlying belief that sizzle brings new customers.

It’s unfortunate that in the size and growth of telcos that the marketing department, acquisition department and retention department became groups of people that not only rarely talk, but also are often located far apart from one another. Looking at the big picture, these operators could see that the time, effort and money spent to win a new customer over far exceeds that effort and funds that are needed to keep current customers happy.

Messaging is one of these areas – perhaps lacking in sex appeal (so hard to sell into the marketing team) however its demonstrated benefit to retain customers is being overlooked.

Operators have been waiting to see how the messaging world will evolve and decide when the time is best to get in the game. The time is now. Over the top messaging apps like Viber and What’s App are not only securing users, but engaging investors and are now being acquired. Facebook was willing to acquire 450 Million subscribers at an average cost of $43/customer. Viber’s investors were willing to lose about $30 million per year in order to accumulate 350 million users (in three years) and generate a paltry $1.29 Million in revenue. What cost are operators willing to pay retain those customers on their brand? The Answer: apparently nothing. In fact some want to partner with the enemy, somehow figuring if you can’t beat them, you should join them in an unholy alliance.

The game has changed.

OTCs have rallied themselves into a position where they are being bought and sold on the premise that someday their system will have a means to monetize. These apps are currently reducing mobile operator revenues, providing customers with alternate messaging options, and are widening the telecommunications industry. A large subsection of the telecommunications economy is being driven by a group of people that include few mobile operators.

So why are the operators waiting on the sidelines? By sitting back they are letting others plan their future. Operators should be spending their money on winning customers back, and trying to catch up in an industry that they once led. Operators must begin to invest without a guarantee of an immediate return because that is the game their competition is playing.

If these obstacles aren’t overcome, mobile operators will soon find themselves phased out in an industry that has evolved around them. What I want operators to understand is that the rich features of RCS, including VoIP/WiFI calling, Video sharing and true interoperability can help retain customers without costing millions in development and execution costs. Even better if they follow the lead of China Mobile and do it in with an all IP network with natively embedded solutions right on the handset without crazy pricing plans, consumers will never have the need to defect.

Having worked in the telecommunications industry for years, the team at NewPace built rcsConnect knowing the obstacles to development and implementation. Our RCS provides a range of options that can move an operator from a hosted, off site customer test, to a system that is integrated in house and adapted to meet current needs.

So I ask, why would you wait on the other guy to take the lead, when with some guts and very quick moves you can retake your position at the head of the pack?

— Brent

China Set to Lead RCS Integration

Posted on: March 3rd, 2014 by Mobile Communications

At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2014, I was pleased to hear China Mobile announce the planned roll out of an integrated VoLTE and RCS service by the end of this year. Even better, was the opportunity to see a live demonstration of the service in their booth.

China Mobile intends to launch this integrated service called “AND” to their more than 771 million customers by years end. If China Unicom, China Telecom and their regional companies follow soon behind they will start the largest single country integration of RCS service globally.

It is important to note that China Mobile’s approach, unlike every RCS deployment to date, is not a downloadable application, but a true native embedded solution. This is the experience that was envisioned by the RCS standards, but which has lagged due to demand from operators for embedded devices and supply from device manufacturers who haven’t seen any pull.

At MWC, the applications displayed were all natively embedded in the operating systems, with good user interfaces.

NewPace is watching the developments in China very closely. Our recent announcement that our platform had completed Interoperability testing with D2 Technologies (link to D2/NewPace announcement) is important in this regard. D2 provides the software that is embedded by handset manufacturers to enable VoLTE, IMS and now RCS software. Most of these handset manufacturers are supplying the Chinese market.

China Mobile’s announcement makes it necessary for OEM manufacturers to begin embedding VoLTE, IMS and RCS software natively in their devices in order to meet this demand for the largest handset market in the world. With this technology easily at hand, it will ensure that RCS stacks can be provided as a standard option to operators all over the world.

In fact, Western European and North American operators risk the Chinese RCS derivative becoming the defacto standard if they don’t act with urgency and launch their services with vigour. Our rcsConnect and rcsCloudConnect services will allow operators anywhere in the world to quickly interoperate even if they don’t have VoLTE or IMS infrastructure, and our focus on supporting a broad range of RCS terminals and accreditation demonstrates our solution interoperates across the entire RCS ecosystem.

Soon there will be no reason operators cannot launch a full IP network with RCS services including, not only messaging, but true VoIP calling, Voice over WiFi, Video Calling and new enhanced services.

The RCS game has changed, but the usual pundits may not be paying attention, we are.

— Brent

Innovation

Posted on: January 15th, 2014 by Mobile Communications

Recently NewPace’s was nominated as one of Halifax’s Most Innovative Companies of 2013, and this has gotten me thinking a lot about innovation. At a recent dinner of Silicon Valley “Telco Startups”, the topic also turned to how telco companies can be innovative. This got me thinking about whether telco’s can really ever be truly innovative.

I’m not sure a company or a person sets out to be innovative. No one wakes up and says “I’m going to innovate today”, rather I believe innovation is born out of people encountering practical problems, and then coming up with a solution to those problems. Quite often the innovation is a new business model or a new process or procedure born out of a need to do something differently. Technology evolves to solve these very practical problems and is often seen as the “innovation.”

Telco’s themselves cannot do product innovation. A telco product manager simply cannot know every problem that they might be able to solve and create a solution. They can and do, however, support innovation by others. The tools and technology that telco’s have to do this are getting very tired and old, and it’s time for new innovation.

Enter my other favourite topic: RCS. Fundamentally RCS is a technology change. It is about moving operators from proprietary infrastructure which now stifles and slows innovation to open standards based solutions based on publicly defined standards. The RCS technical standards were born out of a need to do things differently at a technical level deep within a mobile network operators central offices. I frequently point out that the “central office” is also truly irrelevant in this modern age of cloud based solutions.

It is time to stop thinking and talking about RCS as chat, file transfer, and video calls, and rather start thinking of it as a set of new base technology standards on which new applications no one has yet conceived will be built.
The adoption of RCS by mobile operators will be innovative in and of itself, simply because it represents a new way of doing business. If cave men hadn’t innovated, where would we be?
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Pundits point to “competitive” services offered by social media services and state these are “technically innovative.” Really? These new services established themselves to compete against traditional telco products and largely compete based on cost. Their innovation is a new free business model to attract customers. They copied existing functionality that has been around since the advent of “Talk” on VMS. When they are inevitably forced to monetize their solution (because nothing in the world is truly free), they generally copy tried and true methods like subscription services, advertising, data sales and micro sales.

Powering these services is technology like low-cost powerful computing resources, virtualization, smart phones, high bandwidth of LTE networks and a high degree of standardization. These innovations have allowed these competitive services to extend their reach and services to mobile users.

Operators have to adopt new paradigms too. They have to realize they will no longer be in complete control of the users experience or how their infrastructure gets used. Rather, they will be enabling others with a universal standard which will, in turn, increase the speed of innovation and growth in sales of their data pipes.