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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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Updated! – Cisco Mobile Visual Networking Index

Over the past several years, Cisco introduced and has regularly updated and expanded its well-received Visual Networking Index (VNI), which projects IP traffic trends based upon independent analyst forecasts, mobile data usage surveys from operators and other primary research. 

As part of its VNI initiative, Cisco also developed the Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast, and the most recent update has just been issued.

The updated forecast includes findings such as:

  • By 2016, global mobile data traffic will reach 10.8 exabytes per month (or 130 exabytes annually). Global mobile data traffic will increase 18X from 2011 -- 2016 (78% CAGR from 2011 -- 2016).  The 130 exabytes is 4.5 times more than all IP traffic (fixed and mobile) generated in 2005 (29 exabytes).
  • Based on Cisco VNI research, global mobile data traffic increased 133% from calendar year-end 2010 to calendar year-end 2011 (CY2011 = 597 petabytes per month or nearly 149 million DVDs per month).
  • In 2011, global mobile data traffic grew 3.4 times faster than global fixed broadband data traffic.  From 2011 to 2016, global mobile data traffic will grow 3 times faster than global fixed broadband data traffic.

Other pertinent points include:

  • In spite of uncertain economic conditions in many parts of the world, the demand for mobile services and content has in fact grown in every global region.
  • An increased amount of mobile traffic being offloaded to fixed networks, and the implementation of tiered mobile service pricing and data caps have not had a significant dampening effect on global mobile data traffic growth (the top 1% has been throttled to some degree).
  • In 2011, global mobile data traffic more than doubled (2.3X growth) for the fourth year in a row.

Following are links to relevant documents and information:

We welcome your questions . . . for greater detail, email traffic-inquiries@cisco.com.

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