Most mobile operators see the introduction of LTE as an opportunity to regain control of the mobile services environment, according to a report undertaken by MobileSQUARED on behalf of BroadSoft. By Ian Scales.
Approximately three quarters of mobile operators surveyed are deploying, trialling or planning to deploy LTE, but the kicker is that most of those also see LTE as a means to "leverage their significant 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," says the press release promoting the report.
"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 per cent 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 high-definition (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."
According to the press release, "The survey shows mobile operators believe this evolution is taking place and that LTE will enable them to capitalize on the desire by individuals for a wider variety of communication options.
"The vast majority of operators (92 per cent) surveyed stated that they are either currently or are planning to offer UC services for enterprise customers and 83 per cent currently (or plan to) offer RCS services for consumers.
"With an LTE network, MNOs can offer a superior user experience, by providing higher quality of service (QoS) for voice and video calling, than the "best effort" offered by OTT providers. VoLTE specifications ensure that voice quality and service requirements are as good as current CS-domain voice, or better."
This is clearly an argument that has some way to run. Many other people within the industry - often privately - regard RCS as a dead parrot, overtaken by events on the handset where the likes of Apple with its iOS and Google with Android are already implementing application integration and unified services in a way that users appear to quite like..,.,. if the uptake of these smartphones is anything to go by.
Quite how operators propose to offer better "than the best effort offered by OTT providers" with LTE, without actually blocking the OTT providers (as was tried recently in The Netherlands) is the next question.
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