FYI: Interview: LTE roaming business development, Orange Group: “All communications has turned to 4G – it’s a hit!”
Laurent Pouillieute, LTE roaming business development, Orange Group is speaking on Day One of the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we speak to him about what the challenges that lie ahead for 4G, particularly around roaming.
What major developments have there been with regards to the LTE industry in your region this past year?
2012 was a busy year with several 4G domestic launches in each EU country [we operate in] and 2013 is proving much bigger. On the devices side, the trend of 4G compatible devices is clearly increasing. All communications has turned to 4G – it’s a hit! On the 4G roaming side 2012 was a year of preparation and in 2013 things are starting to happen for regional roaming.
What are the technical challenges involved in enabling roaming?
While 3G roaming is mature in EU, with all services open, 4G roaming has raised new challenges for the industry. These are:
- device band support is still an issue for worldwide roaming. Hopefully, at regional level compatibility is fine but it is clearly a limitation for fast worldwide 4G roaming.
- LTE network interoperability, first days of LTE roaming would be busy with debugging all new 4G routes (time & resources).
- LTE roaming timing; to try to reduce the time between LTE domestic and roaming launch.
- VoLTE is a real challenge and the industry (including devices) need to deploy it fast in the next few years. The right interconnect model has to be found in order to ensure end-to-end QoS and we strongly believe that we need an IPX overlay to deliver that.
What do you think will have to be done to get LTE roaming to become the norm?
Having one single common/universal band everywhere would clearly help the roaming business to deploy faster on all regions.
Will Wi-Fi offset the need for roaming?
I do not believe Wi-Fi will offset the need for 4G roaming. Indeed, 4G offers much better response time, bandwidth, QoS, and transparent customer experience and better coverage and mobility.
Pricing for LTE, particularly for roaming is a controversial subject. Are operators getting it right?
Pricing for LTE reflects both MNO’s investments in deploying 4G quickly and with maximum coverage and improving services and the customer experience. Roaming pricing has been regulated in some regions (such as the EU price caps), and this could help to develop usage.
What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?
LTE will bring faster speeds and much lower latencies, opening up the possibilities for applications that we have not even imagined yet. What is exciting is the capacity to deliver end-to-end QoS thanks to that investment, and for that we need to find the right operating models, giving everyone its fair share of revenue (network operator, carrier, content provider and end user).