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Solving the Rubik's Cube of mobile broadband

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VoicenData Bureau
New Update

It takes exceptional spatial intelligence and nimble fingers to resolve the three dimensional, six colored, many faceted complexity of a Rubik's Cube. The intricacies of selecting, organizing and integrating the multiple variables of a mobile broadband network present operators with similar challenges. Resolving the selection and effective working relationship of several independent factors to best possible effect is the objective. How to correctly bring all elements into perfect alignment is the puzzle.

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Like a Rubik's Cube contest, operators are also subject to the restraints and pressure of time. Based on unprecedented consumer demand the mobile broadband market is poised for explosive growth within the next few years. Huawei predicts mobile subscribers will total more than five billion by 2013, and more than two billion of these will be mobile broadband subscribers. These increasingly sophisticated consumers will expect high reliability and equal access in what will be a completely mobile networked world.

Realizing the tremendous business opportunities of ubiquitous broadband is clearly critical to establishing and maintaining a future competitive edge. However, operators will first need to overcome challenges introduced by irregular development in four areas - services and applications, terminals/devices, pricing, and networks. Unless properly addressed, these facets increase the difficulties of managing exponential increases in information demand and network capacities; making efficient monetizing of offerings even harder to resolve. Suddenly, a Rubik's Cube appears as simplistic child's play in comparison with the puzzle confronting the mobile broadband industry.

Consumers have come to expect a more personalized mobile broadband experience. Technological innovations, particularly Web 2.0 and the development of widgets, have enriched mobile broadband services by improving interactive experiences and enabling traditional enterprise and Internet applications on mobile devices. In order to achieve true Internet openness, future services and service platforms must now be reshaped into an open cooperative ecosystem providing a personalized, community oriented, and user-generated content business model.

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Consumers are also clamoring for the latest innovations in mobile devices. The success of Apple's iPhone and iPod touch-based App Stores represents the tip of a volcanically dynamic digital content sales opportunity. In coming years, we can expect the emergence of many new intelligent devices accommodating increasingly intuitive platforms, and enhanced man to machine and machine to machine interaction. Revolutionary change and tremendous opportunity also represent added dilemmas for successful development of mobile terminal business within a burgeoning industry chain.

Accurately predicting and launching an optimal pricing strategy from the outset creates yet another moving target for operators. Informa Telecoms & Media predicts that, from 2008 to 2013, global mobile data network traffic will grow more than 15 times, while revenue will grow by only 83 percent during the same period. The imbalance of this equation positions operators on the down-side of a dominant trend. According to Huawei's analysis of current networks, IP network traffic is unevenly distributed; a few bandwidth-hungry services, mainly P2P, occupy 50 to 80 percent of traffic, while a small proportion of users, from 5 to 20 percent, consume 70 to 80 percent of the available bandwidth.

In addition, infrastructure requirements for mobile broadband, such as higher network construction and transmission costs and spectrum resource restrictions, go far beyond those of fixed broadband. To correct the imbalance, operators must adopt advanced technology capable of decreasing the cost per megabit. At the same time, these providers must also exchange monthly flat-rate, unlimited access strategies for more flexible and affordable pricing and packaging strategies: going beyond traditional modes of charging end-users (forward charging), by incorporating chargeback for service providers (including e-commerce transaction, advertisement, and rental fees).

In a world of social networking and user-generated content, consumers have spawned endless streams of content and concepts, and, in and of themselves, these users have become highly active network nodes. In 2009, Apple's App Store applications were downloaded more than 800 million times on a cumulative basis and well over 1000 exabytes of digital content are now being generated each year. As a result, telecommunications backbone network flow is anticipated to accelerate by 50 to 80 percent and access network flow will accelerate tens or hundreds of times faster, requiring ever higher network capacity from operators. To merely maintain status quo, many operators have no alternative but to adopt new technologies, requiring significant investment, often reaping only meager benefits and even incurring considerable risk. As a result, network technology platforms are in a state of flux. HSPA technology is approaching maturity, some CDMA operators have switched to GSMA, and Qualcomm has abandoned UMB in favor of LTE. The eminent movement towards LTE provides an added conundrum for the majority of the world's networks that are currently incapable of smooth software migration to LTE, creating added bottlenecks to network evolution.

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Through the rapid development of ground-breaking and innovative mobile broadband network solutions, companies like Huawei are helping operators face the challenges of meeting increasingly high customer demands, while maximizing revenue streams and reducing TCO (Total Cost of Ownership). Huawei has introduced a comprehensive suite of customized and cost-effective mobile broadband solutions enabling operators' ability to provide a truly enhanced mobile experience for consumers; allowing for more flexible work practices, faster Web browsing and downloading of video and music, real-time location-based services and greater interactivity.

To help operators manage 2G/3G/LTE mobile networks, Huawei developed and introduced SingleRAN; pioneering a unified network solution that has now become an important trend in the development of mobile networks. To enable uninterrupted network coverage with an optimal cost-efficiency, Huawei has developed a proprietary “two clouds” system, affording operators a high-speed cloud for hot spots and dense metropolitan areas combined with a continuous cloud for constant coverage. To combat restrictions on mobile broadband development, such as high mobile backhaul network costs, poor availability, and limited bandwidth resources, Huawei has developed a unique mobile backhaul solution. IPTime (IP Transport Infrastructure for Multiplay Experience), helps operators overcome bottlenecks by providing end-to-end IP mobile transmission with full-scenario support and carrier-level capabilities, ease of maintenance, and scalability to meet mobile broadband demand and boost mobile broadband availability. To assist operators counter rising consumer bandwidth requirements, while achieving profitable operations, Huawei has created the Intelligent Packet Network (IPN). This is an enhanced mobile packet core allowing operators to successfully monitor and manage mobile broadband networks while providing opportunities to profit from the creation of new services.

Vastly more complex than a Rubik's Cube, there is a plethora of possible approaches to solving the mobile broadband puzzle. Like nimble fingers directed by a spatially alert intelligence, the recommended suite of solutions can be quickly aligned to expedite deployment and roll-out of smart network architecture — fully capable of providing a high-quality, cost-effective user-experience, while protecting operator's specific investments across their individual broadband networks.

Robert Fox, Chief Branding Officer/Wireless Product Line, Huawei Technologies

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