Thursday, January 8, 2015

Blueprint: VoLTE, WebRTC and IoT Igniting Mobile Operators in 2015

by Thorsten Trapp, Cofounder and CTO of tyntec 

Reflecting on 2014, the year was an inspired one for mobile innovation. With the growing popularity of OTT messaging services and IP-based communication technologies, new opportunities have emerged for all players in the ecosystem – MNOs, enterprises and OTT players – to streamline, expand and increase the quality of communication offerings.

Over the course of 2015, we’ll see a paradigm shift in how operators approach their role and respond to changing market conditions. Operators will have to bring the outside in to strategize and implement innovations in order to find new ways to reinsert traditional telecom services into the communications equation. By leveraging the power of VoLTE, tapping the growing use of WebRTC in businesses and exploring opportunities with OTT and IoT – operators will attempt to regain a foothold in the market.  Advancements on those fronts will compel enterprises to streamline, expand and improve the mobility they provide for their employees and customers. As they increasingly move to the Cloud, enterprises will see the residual benefits from new mobile innovations.

Uptick in MNO Consolidation 

For the telecom industry, 2014 can best be categorized as a tumultuous year for MNOs. Over the last 12-months, we saw several record-setting funding and valuations of OTT messaging service providers including, Kik ($38M funding), Tango ($1.5B valuation), not to mention Facebook’s $19B acquisition of WhatsApp. All of which, fueled OTT’s growth and diminished operator revenues.

In 2015, MNOs will feel heightened pressure as market forces continue to escalate. Traffic and revenue from traditional telco services will decline at a rapid rate as a result of increased OTT adoption and declining ARPU, leading to the acquisition of smaller operators. Those MNOs who are able to weather the storm will be forced to shift their strategies from multi-local to central. Additionally, more telcos will seek out partnerships in an effort to monetize OTT services.

VoLTE Will Help Operators Level The Playing Field
Amidst MNO market consolidation, operators looking to shift strategies will look to VoLTE to help level the playing field and remain competitive with OTT providers and mobile VoIP services. As subscribers consume more data, MNOs will be looking to offload voice traffic onto data networks, which have historically been kept separate as a result of legacy infrastructure. More and more, we’re seeing MNOs move from classical telephony to pure SIP (VoIP) – a significant shift in business model and a winning strategy for MNOs seeking an all-IP approach.

In 2015, the industry can expect even broader adoption of VoLTE as MNOs continue offloading voice traffic to newly built-out LTE networks. Along the way, we anticipate seeing a few headline-worthy outages as carriers struggle to cope with increasing system requirements caused by ever-growing bandwidth demands.

WebRTC Will Elevate Value Of Legacy Communication Services In The Enterprise  

With more enterprises moving to the Cloud, WebRTC and APIs for telecommunication services are seeing wider business adoption due to their ability to achieve interoperability and provide a more seamless communication experience. For those businesses that rely on legacy communication services in the office, integrating traditional services such as, phone numbers and SMS, with WebRTC and telecom APIs is creating a compelling business communication solution. In this approach, phone numbers are becoming unique identifiers in the enterprise, helping to connect employees across the multiple communication channels they use on a daily basis.

In the New Year, WebRTC, coupled with easy-to-use APIs for telecommunication services, will make enterprises embrace the idea of using phone numbers as unique identifiers to provide seamless communications in and out of the office.

MNO Opportunity with the IoT Will Fall Short 

The ubiquity of mobile communications is fueling new growth opportunities into this not-so-new concept of linking devices to facilitate machine-to-machine communication (M2M). But while the IoT has sparked growth strategies for MNOs, the current business model of MNOs is not compatible with IoT. The high infrastructure cost and low ARPU creates a significant barrier for MNOs to think and act in the speed that’s required to exploit the opportunities. Regardless, some operators are still driven to make a business case for it. Only the ones who can take advantage of external, specialized platforms optimized for the IoT economy of scale will be able to turn IoT into a revenue-generating machine.

In 2015, we’ll see some MNOs try to capitalize on IoT but the resulting initiatives will not help their bottom line. Regardless, some operators will still be driven by the established KPIs and approach it as a way to add as many SIM cards as possible without a solid business case for it.

Despite evolving market conditions, traditional telecommunications services such as mobile numbers will continue to play a foundational role in mobile innovation. That said, MNOs face transformation in the year ahead. With help from IP-based communication technologies, VoLTE and emerging partnership opportunities, operators will learn to adapt in 2015.

About the Author

Thorsten Trapp is the co-founder and CTO of tyntec. He is a highly regarded mobile industry expert with over 20 years’ experience in the space.

Based in the company’s technical headquarters in Dortmund – where he studied computer science and biology at the Technical University – Thorsten developed the company's Mobile Messaging platform architecture which powers tyntec’s core business and is chiefly responsible for the company’s technical innovations and intellectual property. In this capacity he authored all nine of tyntec’s patent families and has been named in 33 patent applications in total. Amongst others, he is the inventor of tyntec’s dynamic SS7 platform, its Mobile Number Portability System and disruptive tt.One product.

  About tyntec

tyntec is a global mobile messaging operator and cloud communications provider founded on the Isle of Man. Its main offices are in Munich and Dortmund, Germany. It operates offices in London, Singapore, San Francisco and on the Isle of Man.

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Facebook Acquires Quickfire Networks for Video

Facebook has acquired QuickFire Networks, a start-up based in San Diego that specializes in video encoding technologies. Financial terms were not disclosed.

QuickFire developed a 1-RU, Intel-based appliance for processing and transcoding video.

Facebook noted that it now has over one billion video views on average every day.

Mirantis Launches Plugabble OpenStack Installer

Mirantis announced a new OpenStack distribution based on the Juno release and featuring the ability for partners to write plugins that install and run their products automatically.

Mirantis OpenStack 6.0 supports the Fuel deployment manager, which is an open source framework for creating deployment plugins, offering users a wide range of capabilities that they can repeatedly and reliably add to their Fuel-managed OpenStack clouds.

“As the pure-play OpenStack vendor, Mirantis is committed to keeping hardware and software choices completely open and to removing technical barriers to adoption,” said Boris Renski, Mirantis CMO. “Our investment in pluggable architecture makes it much easier for customers to take advantage of their preferred networking and storage solutions in building, deploying and managing their OpenStack clouds.”

Fuel plugins that are shipping with Mirantis OpenStack 6.0 include Load-Balancing-as-a Service with HAProxy, Virtual-Private-Network-as-a-Service, and NetApp and Red Hat’s GlusterFS as backend storage for Cinder. Customers and partners can also build additional network, storage, operations and authentication plugins.

GSA: LTE-Advanced and VoLTE Investments Underway

A total of 360 operators have commercially launched LTE networks and service in 124 countries, according to GSA (Global mobile Suppliers Association).

Alan Hadden, President of GSA, said: “LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation deployment was the major trend in 2014. 49 operators have commercially launched LTE-Advanced in 31 countries. Taking account of additional deployments in progress, trials and studies, GSA calculates almost 30% of LTE operators are currently investing in LTE-Advanced technology.”

Some highlights of the report:

  • 312 operators deployed FDD mode only
  • 31 operators deployed TDD mode only
  • 17 operators deployed both FDD and TDD modes
  • 80 operators in 42 countries i.e. over 22% of operators are investing in VoLTE deployments, studies or trials, with 14 operators having launched HD voice service using VoLTE in 7 countries. Many more launches are expected in 2015
  • 107 operators in total, i.e. almost 30% of LTE operators have launched, are deploying or are trialling LTE-Advanced technologies. 49 operators have commercially launched LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation in 31 countries, and this figure could double in 2015
  • 8 operators have commercially launched LTE using APT700 (700 MHz) band 28 spectrum. APT700 is a key coverage band for LTE with near-global market potential. 42 countries have allocated, committed to or recommend APT700 band 28 spectrum for LTE deployments, in markets covering 3.2 billion people. 55 APT700 (band 28) user devices comprising smartphones, tablets, CPEs and MiFi hotspots have been announced

AT&T to Run LTE Broadcast at College Football Championship

AT&T will host a live, on-site demonstration of LTE Broadcast for invited guests at the first football national championship game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on January 12.

LTE Broadcast enables delivery of content directly to all users with compatible devices within a designated timeframe and area.

AT&T said LTE Broadcast could be used to distribute a wide range of content including music, video, and software to specific areas within its LTE footprint, such as a single sports stadium.

Sonus Acquires SDN Assets from Treq Labs

Sonus Networks has acquired the SDN technology assets of Treq Labs, a start-up based in Sunnyvale, California, for approximately $10.1 million in cash.

Treq’s Spoq platform  was developed to virtualize the WAN, enabling on-demand service creation based on business applications and policy.

The acquisition deal includes an Earn-Out Agreement whereby the Sonus has agreed to issue up to an aggregate of approximately 6.6 million shares of common stock over a three-year period of 2015 through 2017 if aggregate revenue thresholds of at least $60 million are achieved by the SDN business during that period, and up to an aggregate of an additional approximately 11 million shares (17.6 million shares in total) if aggregate revenue thresholds of at least $150 million are achieved by the SDN business during that period.