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VoLTE innovation is a virtual reality

Mark Windle, Head of Marketing, OpenCloud | July 3, 2015
Mark Windle, head of marketing at OpenCloud, discusses how launching Voice over LTE (VoLTE) in the cloud provides a great opportunity for operators to improve their competitive position and increase subscriber share to boost revenues.

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

The uptake of LTE in Asia is increasing rapidly and operators have a big opportunity to utilise their next generation networks to launch a range of unique telecoms services. Voice, one of telecoms' most pervasive services, is the perfect place to start. Recently, innovation in this area has been owned by the OTT players, including WhatsApp, Facebook and Google, who are rolling out new propositions and updates to their voices services -- the operators need to mirror this routine.

However, it seems that the traditional, conservative operator, keen to minimise the investment, considers VoLTE as an exercise in simply re-creating today's existing voice services on the new LTE/IMS network.Operators must begin aiming not at standard "plain vanilla" VoLTE as the goal, but for something beyond that, something more competitive. The true value of VoLTE can only be realised when developed with a range of differentiated features that offer distinctive value to the subscriber.

To achieve this, operators need to find the missing cog in the wheel that will give them more flexibility and speed to innovate. Unfortunately, in the telecoms world, pace of innovation is much slower than that associated with internet and OTT players. This is due in part to the difficulty operators have in getting their ideas implemented quickly and inexpensively by equipment vendors; and in part due to the emphasis on the physical deployment, integration and commission of new hardware into the network. This process, which happens first for the test network and then for the live one, can prove to be costly and time consuming, and ultimately impacts how quickly operators can modify and improve their networks. The result is often a telecoms industry that is left lagging behind in an otherwise fast-changing technology market, as operators struggle to react, innovate and, ultimately, compete.

These barriers are based on the assumption that the traditional deployment of vendor-controlled telecoms equipment is required. It's a false assumption. There is a better way.

An open, virtualised path to invention

Open solutions can provide a better path to innovation. Unlike traditional telecom service-layer equipment that only delivers functions developed by the vendor, solutions which are truly open enable an operator to enhance, extend and develop services independently and without following the traditional and expensive change-request (CR) model. The benefits of open solutions are further increased when combined with the flexibility and agility of the cloud. Not only does the use of virtualised software-based solutions negate the need for the physical deployment of network equipment, it also allows operators to scale services up or down, depending on the need for capacity at any given moment. By reducing deployment costs, this 'grow-on-demand' scalability helps minimise the up-front investment in service innovation while enabling rapid scale-up of winning ideas.


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