The joy of six network stories this week

Six stories from the mobile network this week, with plenty of TLAs: SDN, LTE, NSN, EMT, FDD, TDD.

1. Operators are all over SDN

Informa Telecoms & Media launched its white paper Mobile SDN – the Future is Virtual.
The analyst house surveyed a few operators and came to the conclusion that “momentum is building rapidly for mobile software-defined-network (SDN)”, which was no doubt a relief to the white paper’s sponsor and SDN pusher Juniper Networks.

Why are operators keen on SDNs?
1. To make networks more scalable and flexible
2. In the longer term, enable new revenue and business-model opportunities by bringing new apps and services to market quicker and at lower cost.
Informa’s white paper identifies three distinct areas in mobile operators’ architecture where mobile SDN is materialising: separation of the control and data planes; virtualisation of network components; and service exposure via APIs.

The survey found that 93% of operator respondents expect SDN to be implemented in mobile within five years, and half expect it to be implemented in the next one to two years. LTE and LTE-Advanced deployments are expected to be the biggest drivers of mobile SDN adoption, and adoption is expected to be led by developed markets in North America (primarily the US) and Asia Pacific (South Korea and Japan).

2. Ericsson in Estonia
Ericsson is claiming it delivered an 800MHz LTE network to EMT in Estonia in just two weeks. Combined with a fast award of spectrum, the Telia Sonera subsidiary is now up and running six months ahead of its own schedule, a press release from Ericsson trumpeted. EMT has had an LTE network at 1800MHz since 2010.

Ericsson provided radio network equipment, the upgrade and expansion of Packet Core to Evolved Packet Core, rollout, integration and deployment services.

3. Astellia monitoring LTE at Bouygues
Bouygues Telecom is using people and technology from its existing network optimisation partner Astellia during its LTE network trial phase. Astellia’s Nova monitoring solution allows Bouygues Telecom to analyse network performance, handset behavior and mobile applications usage and how they interact with each other.

As part of this partnership, some Astellia staff have been integrated within Bouygues Telecom’s technical teams.

Jean-Christophe Reversat, Network Operations Director at Bouygues Telecom, signed off on the following quote: “With Astellia at our side, we are sure to satisfy our most demanding customers. All adjustments made optimise the performance of our 4G network and help provide a unique user experience.”

4. MTS + NSN = LTE
Nokia Siemens Networks (now to be fully owned by Nokia)said it would be laying down some FDD LTE in the Moscow and Central Russia regions during the third quarter of 2013. The operator has 2600 MHz and 800 MHz frequency bands and has made NSN sole supplier of radio access and core network equipment over a three year contract. MTS launched a TDD LTE network in 2012.

5. 10MHHz + 10MHz = 20MHz for EE
EE publicly announced the start of its trailed double speed LTE, officially switching on 20MHz of spectrum dedicated to LTE in twelve UK cities. Alongside that, it introduced its shared data plans and pay as you go for LTE. and other services, as it said it would. There was some bragging from EE, which is getting its retaliation in first while it can.

Ovum’s Emeka Obiodu, principal analyst, pointed out that the double headline speed thing is less important than the fact it gives “EE a base from which to offer LTE packages tiered on speed and usage which are far [more] acceptable to customers. That is going to be the interesting thing to watch out for and if its rivals do not have the capability to do that, EE could have quite a solid marketing message.”

6. Moar data
Strategy Analytics reported that Handset Data Traffic (ie, just data to and from mobile handsets) would grow over 300% by 2017 to 21 Exabytes. Video and web traffic will drive the rise, naturally, with compound annual traffic growth of 42% and 30% respectively

Here are some more data points for your next slide deck. David MacQueen, Executive Director, Apps and Media at Strategy Analytics, noted, “Data traffic has been almost doubling annually. As developed markets mature we expect a slowdown in traffic growth to a 32% compound annual growth rate from 2012 onward, but this nonetheless sees carriers forced to find novel ways to handle huge volumes of traffic which will rise from five exabytes of data per year to over 21 exabytes per annum by 2017.”

Full report available here: