LTE to open doors for operators

Almost half of all global mobile network operators are currently deploying or trialling LTE, according to a recent survey. An additional third are planning LTE network rollouts in the future, said Broadsoft, which published the study today.

The survey, conducted by analyst firm MobileSQUARED, showed that approximately three quarters of all operators surveyed said they plan to launch an LTE network in the future, with 42% already deploying or trialling LTE. One requirement for monetising these high speed networks is the availability of LTE handsets.

Over one third of those surveyed believe LTE handsets will be readily available in 2012, and another third (a total of 64%) believe LTE handsets will be available by 2013.

The GSMA closely watches the speed of LTE network deployments and recently recognised LTE as the fastest developing mobile technology ever, and with it, the industry is witnessing the emergence of a strong UC offering, said Broadsoft. These services are expected to enable the majority of mobile operators to use their assets to overcome the threat posed by over-the-top (OTT) services, and target both the consumer and enterprise market with innovative, revenue generating services beyond traditional voice and messaging.

“We believe the results of the BroadSoft survey reinforce our view that LTE offers significant opportunities for mobile network operators to leverage an all-IP environment to deliver innovative communications services that enhance, rather than replace, voice,” said Scott Hoffpauir, chief technology officer, BroadSoft. “With the proliferation of mobile tablets and smartphones, we believe VoLTE can be a game changer for mobile carriers, as they are ideally positioned to provide a single communications identity – a phone number – through which their customers can always be reached, regardless of the communication app, voice, video, texting, IM, or device they choose.”

When operators were asked to choose the three most important elements of UC and RCS, ‘data sharing’ topped the list, chosen by almost 60% of respondents, followed by ‘video and conferencing’ and standard ‘telephony’.

Hoffpauir added: “We believe the introduction of these innovative communication services will enable MNOs to radically change the communication experience. We expect to see voice become HD voice, video calling become a standard feature and text messaging evolve to content messaging, with the sharing of pictures and videos, and all in real time.”

The survey shows mobile operators believe this evolution is taking place and that LTE will enable them to capitalise on the desire by individuals for a wider variety of communication options.