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Survey suggests LTE roaming premiums could be short-lived

Only around a fifth of respondents to the Telecoms.com Intelligence Industry Survey 2014 strongly believe that mobile operators are justified in charging LTE roaming at a premium to other roaming services. But even fewer expect that specialist roaming providers will come to dominate the retail roaming market, suggesting that mobile operators will continue to derive vital revenues from roaming, despite pressure on tariffs from competition and regulation.

Price is expected to remain an important competitive differentiator in LTE roaming, although not the most important. We asked respondents to rate a number of competitive differentiators for roaming services on the same one to seven scale (where seven was extremely effective). Of the six options provided, price differentiation was ranked fourth by respondents in total and third by operator respondents.

It was nonetheless rated highly, with 41.4 per cent of respondents (and 44.4 per cent of operator respondents) scoring it six or seven. Judged most effective, and given a six or seven rating by half of respondents, was service continuity. Close behind, and reflecting responses to an earlier question, was guaranteed Qos (48.6 per cent), followed by integration with wifi (44.7 per cent; this was ranked fourth by operator respondents, given a high rating by 39.7 per cent). Judged least effective, with a high rating from 25.6 per cent of respondents, was geographical differentiation.

How effective do you believe the following differentiators are for operators providing LTE roaming? Where is extremely effective.

How effective do you believe the following differentiators are for operators providing LTE roaming? Where is extremely effective.

We asked respondents to rate eight potential charging models for LTE roaming services in terms of their benefit to the mobile operator. See the story here.

Chris Lennartz, head of mobile services at KPN-owned IPX provider iBasis suggests these results highlight the importance of the IPX model. “LTE Roaming will be limited initially to data roaming but, soon afterwards, delay- and error-critical services like VoLTE, RCS, video, M2M will follow, in order to provide Multi-Service Continuity in the transition to all-IP,” he says. “IPX has been designed to assign differentiated quality levels to specific services over one integrated pipe, using virtual links that can be managed separately. As this model works end-to-end, operators can start introducing a variety of services assigning the QoS they require.”

LTE roaming will not differ from earlier roaming simply in terms of service and business models. With a new signalling paradigm and the opportunity to address the inelegance of earlier approaches to routing there will be some key technological changes as well.

What do you believe will be the revenue and traffic impact of the European Commission's proposed removal of roaming premiums within the EU?

What do you believe will be the revenue and traffic impact of the European Commission’s proposed removal of roaming premiums within the EU?

The 2014 Telecoms.com Intelligence Global Industry Survey drew responses from more than 2,000 industry professionals, including more than 700 operator representatives. The full report from the survey will be made available in mid-February. You can register to receive the report here.

Telecoms.com

European review suggests fewer markets should be regulated

The European Commission has published advice received from external experts concerning which parts of telecoms markets could be regulated ex-ante by national telecoms regulators to address structural competition problems. Click here for more.


cellular-news

China Mobile awards LTE contracts, report suggests

China will speed up work to issue licenses for the fourth generation (4G) mobile network this year, according to Xinhua News Agency

China will speed up work to issue licenses for the fourth generation (4G) mobile network this year, according to Xinhua News Agency

Half of China Mobile’s LTE infrastructure contracts have been won by local suppliers Huawei and ZTE, according to a report from Reuters that cites industry sources. The report suggests that Ericsson, Alcatel Lucent and NSN have picked up around ten per cent of the business each with their Chinese competitors bagging 25 per cent apiece. The combined value of China Mobile’s LTE contracts is $ 3.2bn, Reuters said.

China Mobile is the largest operator in the world by subscriber numbers, with 764 million subscriptions at the end of June 2013, according to Informa’s World Cellular Information Service. Informa forecasts that the operator will have more than 125 million LTE subscribers by the end of 2018.

China has yet to issue licences for LTE spectrum. In July the country’s Xinhua News Agency reported that the licensing process was being accelerated and local press sources have suggested recently that licences could be awarded in early October.

Telecoms.com

Survey suggests strong MNO support for RCS

unifiedcommsResearch published by BICS, the carrier services arm of Belgian incumbent operator Belgacom suggests that more than two thirds of mobile operators will have launched Rich Communications Services (RCS) by the end of next year. Nonetheless, the GSMA-sponsored integrated communications initiative faces a number of challenges, according to the more than 100 mobile operator executives polled by BICS at Informa’s recent IMS World Forum event in Barcelona.

Chief among the concerns voiced by operators was return on investment, with 43 per cent of respondents worried by the prospect of having to monetize RCS, reflecting hesitation relating to IMS-related Capex, BICS said. The second most widely reported challenge, highlighted by only 20 per cent of respondents, was ensuring a technically integrated service, incorporating video calling, multimedia file transfer and group chat services.

Divya Ghai Wakankar, senior product manager for voice at BICS, said the survey results reflected a “strong ambition from mobile operators to leverage the full potential of RCS to bring next generation services to market.” He continued: “By deploying RCS, mobile operators can get creative with their offerings, while utilising their unique position as trusted operators to drive adoption with extended reach across geographical boundaries.”

Join us this Thursday at 9am for a free webinar hosted by telecoms.com in association with BICS as they discuss how to overcome LTE Roaming challenges – click here for more information

Telecoms.com