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Roaming Data Plans: Culture Shock, maybe, but Bill Shock no more!

There is immense parental pride in seeing your child receive her University diploma. As I watched my daughter walk across the stage on the campus quad last year, bittersweet thoughts floated by – she’ll be leaving the family nest, striking out on her own, facing the challenges of finding a job, moving into her own apartment, paying bills. It was sad to think of innocence lost, and the real world barking at her door. With these thoughts I embraced her, and then she said “Dad, guess what, I’ve decided that I’m gonna do a gap year in New Zealand and Australia!”

A “gap year” is a way to defer all those serious milestones I was imagining for my daughter by taking a year off to travel and do fun things. Oh, and could I also take care of her cat, her car, and start making her college loan payments while she was gone? Oh well, I was actually very happy – and envious – about her quest for self-discovery.

So we shifted focus to new challenges, like getting travel medical insurance, selecting the right backpack, managing money needs, where to find jobs along the way, getting temporary work visas. And what about keeping in touch? I looked at my mobile operator’s roaming rates, and saw that Read More »

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Faster, Clearer and Future-Proof: VoLTE Brings it Home

Vicki Livingston

by Vicki Livingston, Head of Communications, 4G Americas

From the first batters up to the plate in South Korea in 2012, with a flurry from Metro PCS in the U.S., Voice over LTE (VoLTE) seemed to be in a field of dreams and not making much noise or progress. However, bring it on baby… as VoLTE may be getting ready for prime time in 2014. Analyst firm Infonetics expects 30 commercial networks and 51 million subscribers with VoLTE by the end of this year and that number will grow to the major leagues on 2015.

So, what is it? And why is it good? Read More »

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The Mobile Paradox

Today’s world is characterized by what I call the “mobile explosion”—an environment defined by mobile cloud becoming a platform for delivering everything. It is a world of heterogeneous networks, licensed macro small cell networks, and unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi for example), all seamlessly combined. In this world, however, I believe we are facing a mobile paradox: on the one hand, there is a staggering demand for data from our smartphones, tablets, and other connected devices; on the other hand, the telecommunications industry is grappling with business and monetization challenges around profitability, how to build up these networks fast enough, and competition from over-the-top (OTT) operators.  But, operators are struggling with building the business case and understanding how to make Wi-Fi pay.

The much quoted Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that global mobile data traffic will increase 13-fold from 2012 to 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month. In parallel, the use of unlicensed small cell networks (Wi-Fi) for Internet access is exploding as more mobile devices are Wi-Fi-enabled, the number of public hotspots expands, and user acceptance grows. Until recently, most technologists and mobile industry executives viewed Wi-Fi as the “poor cousin” to licensed mobile communications.  And they most certainly never saw any role for Wi-Fi in mobile networks or their business. The explosion of mobile data traffic has changed all of that. Most mobile operators now realize that offloading data traffic to Wi-Fi can, and must, play a significant role in helping them avoid clogged networks and unhappy customers.

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In the “Business Models and Monetization Video” in Big Thinkers in Small Cells, my colleagues and I discuss revenue opportunities and challenges mobile operators face today with small cells, both licensed and unlicensed. Mobile operators Read More »

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The Connected Mobile Experience

By 2016, more than 10 billion connected devices will populate our planet. According to data from the Cisco Visual Networking Index, mobile connection speeds and data use are anticipated to rise with this influx of smartphones, tablets and laptop computers.

Many mobile device users are constantly connected, using their smartphones to search for information at work as well as during their leisure time. Outside the office space, Cisco is working with enterprises, service providers, mobile software partners and mobile app developers to deliver a Connected Mobile Experience to end-users. As consumers tote their mobile devices into malls, airports, hotels, and other venues around the world, businesses see new opportunities to improve and personalize the consumer experience, generate new revenue streams and enhance business operations.

Location-based services are Read More »

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WiFi Momentum Continues — WBA Holds Global Summit

Just concluding today is the WiFi Global Summit in San Francisco, hosted by the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

Billed as the world’s largest carrier-grade WiFi event, the Summit was very successful.  More than 400 people attended; all the sessions were well attended, with many of them packed; and feedback was positive. 

Attendees included industry analysts, media, leading telcos, Wi-Fi and cable operators, roaming hub providers and vendors.  The attendance and feedback underscored the growing importance and visibility of WiFi from both the service provider and enterprise perspectives.

Cisco’s Kelly Ahuja delivered one of the keynotes, and other Cisco people participated.

Also exciting from our perspective was that Cisco won two awards, and a key partner – BT – earned one.

Cisco, with its partner operator True (Thailand) won for:

  • Best Next-Generation Hotspot (NGH) Initiative Award

Cisco also won for:

  • Best Wi-Fi Technology Innovation Award (vendors) . . . for the Cisco Aironet 3600 Next-Generation Design

BT won for Most Innovative Hotspot Venue, as the operator ensured that the whole of London was connected during the 2012 Olympic Games.   The BT system is based significantly on Cisco solutions.

Much more to come from Cisco on the WiFi front . .

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