LTE and the legacy network – the challenges of concurrent offerings
The opportunities of LTE are here and they’re here now. The dilemma is that they bring a raft of sizeable challenges with them. CSPs are concerned about integration and handovers, among other things – straddling what will eventually become a transition from the 2G and 3G environment to the new world of LTE. Richard Kenedi explores the pressures CSPs face. It’s about more than creating a roadmap to get there, he suggests; it’s about gathering real and actionable insights into the landscape that awaits at the final destination.
A recent survey from the independent research organisation Heavy Reading suggests that CSPs perceive a state of flux is in place at the moment, driving re-evaluations of their services. When asked about the challenges of EPC implementation, the three most common concerns identified by the research were:
- – Integration and handovers (45% of carriers)
- – The growth of data services and its effect on policy control and charging (43%)
- – Vendor interoperability and its effect on network equipment manufacturer implementations (40%)
One thing is clear; it’s that knowing exactly where to begin, in creating a winning strategy to deal with data congestion and get the data flowing through the network, with no hold-ups or fall-overs, and keeping a high bar on customer experience is not very clear at all. The new challenges of LTE present a new beginning for the industry. It’s time to look again at network services, capabilities and quality, from end-to-end and assume that total preparation is the only reliable strategy for ensuring total success.
The simple view of a complex future
Tektronix Communications has one of the largest deployments of LTE monitoring and service assurance systems in the world and is already monitoring commercial services over LTE. In its networks analytics involvement with CSPs, the company finds that while many are concerned about potential revenue loss to OTT service providers, or simply through not being fully prepared for the transition, others are ahead of the curve. They are not only preventing ARPU erosion, they are reversing the trend. These are the companies that are maintaining their challenger CSP status by gathering the real and actionable insights into the customer experience. The trick is in KPI monitoring and vendor benchmarking.
The adoption of a simple KPI approach, customised for a CSP’s specific business and performance goals can cover network, services and subscribers across all technologies and enable a CSP to address issues arising both from legacy networks and from LTE. Since 2G and 3G will remain with us for some time to come, network analytics must straddle the transition. There is no immediate point in time when subscribers will upgrade en masse, so the fact is the CSP has to provide a service that is all things to all subscribers. It has to be sure also that it can benchmark vendors to ensure continuity of service. And that’s where continuity of competitive edge ultimately lies.
category: Expert Opinions