LTE is the fourth-generation technology with a great improvement on spectrum efficiency, higher user data rate, low latency, cost reduction, system capacity and coverage.
As reported in the Ericsson Mobility Report (2015), operators are facing declining revenue from voice and messaging due to growing data usage. Approximately 60 per cent of their revenues are derived from voice and SMS services, and many operators offer combined voice and data plans - often with unlimited bundles. Voice and SMS services provided by operators are increasing in many markets, but packet-switched communication services based on VoLTE are reinvigorating the voice business.
Enabling operators to offer attractive, high-quality bundled communication services and data packages to consumers and businesses helps them to stay competitive and fight against the rise in OTT services.
Services such as Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWi-Fi) and Voice over LTE (VoLTE) provide telecom-grade HD voice, video calling and other richer new communication services while enabling simultaneous high-speed LTE data services. By the end of the year, about 100 carriers worldwide will be offering at least one packet-based voice service and approximately 300 million customers will be using VoWi-Fi and / or VoLTE by the end of 2016 .
To differentiate their offers, operators are forming more partnerships with content providers such as Netflix and Spotify. In 2016 we'll see operators starting to leverage the capabilities of their business support systems to better package and market their content offers, e.g. differentiating one Netflix offer vs. the Netflix offer from another operator.
LTE also enables operators to revolutionise video delivery over mobile networks for enhanced user experience. Comparing to unicast broadcasting, LTE Broadcast delivers the same stream of contents to multiple users, removes network capacity constraints and delivers videos of higher quality and lower latency. Many recent deployments of LTE Broadcast focus on live sporting events, meaning that a large audience group can view simultaneous real-time streams of HD contents.
LTE Broadcast enables operators to unlock revenue-generating opportunities by monetising their contents. Examples of this trend include enhanced push video-on-demand (VOD) delivery, targeted advertising with 'hyperlocal' services and subscription-based services.
With emergence of IoT and Big Data becomes a major industry momentum, it has been estimated that there will be up to 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Mobile operators are rightfully placing their bets on LTE-A to handle the rapid growth of these interconnected machines and devices and subsequent delivery of data in huge volume. This is down to the increased network capacity, better efficiency, low latency and improved building penetration offered by LTE networks, so they're ideal for the speed and responsiveness required by IoT applications.
Mobile operators are quickly developing their IoT solutions to take advantage of the trend, with AT&T already forming IoT agreements with more than 130 organisations spanning several industries such as agriculture, automotive, aviation, energy, healthcare and transportation.
As many service providers offer mobile viewing of live events, it's challenging to provide coverage within the venue under network constraints - especially in large sports events. LTE Broadcast enables a single instance of a video stream to be viewed by thousands of users simultaneously, making in-venue video a reality to enable viewers to watch performance or sports events up close. Trials conducted to date cover a wide array of events including music concerts, football, cricket, motor racing and golf.
As we see LTE technology come of age, the next-generation user experiences is becoming a reality. In order to seize the opportunities and new business models that LTE provides, mobile operators need to ensure they're working with the right technology partner and to consider all the necessary steps for robust delivery. Doing so enables them to remain competitive by providing better user experiences and opening new avenues for revenue generation.