Technicolor's Olivier Lafontaine Explores the Business Case for Hybrid LTE Solutions in Connected Home CPE Environment
The role of Hybrid LTE solutions that support fixed broadband services to the home took center stage at the recent 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as network service providers (NSPs) grapple will be explored in great detail.
The rise of 5G, and new consumer demand dynamics are causing network service providers (NSPs) around the world to implement flexible solutions that improve broadband performance while optimizing network availability, says Olivier Lafontaine, Strategy and Product, Management Director for Technicolor Connected Home, in an audio interview for journalists.
There are several key factors driving Hybrid LTE growth. First and foremost is the ubiquitous deployment of LTE that we have seen across nearly all geographies. It's now possible to get LTE coverage almost everywhere. It is creating an opportunity to improve the User Experience at Home, addressing important challenges faced by network service providers," says Lafontaine.
"For instance, while we have seen a lot of headlines about ultra-broadband -- in which gigabit capacity is provided to consumers -- the fact of the matter is that these speeds have been available only to the lucky few," he points out.
While Fiber-to-the-Home iis deployed in many densely populated areas, most homes, even in Europe, are still serviced with conventional copper lines.
"They have been enjoying broadband through digital subscriber line (DSL) services. These services may be acceptable to many, but the problem is that there are lot of people who are on long copper lines, and the farther away you get from a telco central office, the slower the service become. Many of these homes will not be served by FTTH for the next five years, and some will not ever see fiber services at all," explains Lafontaine.
Boosting Ultra-Broadband Performance and Availability
This is where Hybrid LTE customer premises equipment (CPE) can be a game changer for NSPs. They can use "fixed" LTE services -- either simultaneously with the traditional wireline solution to dynamically allocate traffic to improve performance -- and/or they can benefit from LTE when the wireline signal is failing to keep the broadband service always operational.
"As more and more people work from home, both performance and redundancy are becoming big issues. Hybrid LTE manages this risk while offering an opportunity to improve network performance from the customer's perspective. NSPs can decide to route traffic to the network option that is relevant, depending on technical and business conditions" he says.
Hybrid LTE Improves Time-to-Service
Hybrid LTE can accelerate important time-to-service issues and contribute to improving customer satisfaction. By having LTE in the box, customers immediately enjoy access to services, even as they wait for their terrestrial line to be provisioned by the NSP. This is very relevant especially when the fixed line service activation is controlled by a 3rd-party.
Operators Can Now Leverage Their LTE Assets in Their Broadband Strategy
"Hybrid LTE provides a competitive advantage to operators that have both wireline options and LTE infrastructure. The ones that have invested massively in their LTE networks will get a major advantage. They will have new options to attract users offering them better broadband performance for lower cost. And this will be key to differentiate in areas where every operator rely on the same fixed network" says Lafontaine.
Advent of 5G Creates More Opportunities for Hybrid LTE
The rise of 5G will also give Hybrid LTE a shot in the arm by adding an important new option to the NSP service equation.
"The players that have been doing a pure LTE play on broadband will point out that you need to manage capacity and decide which share of your LTE resources to consume for the broadband strategy, and which share to allocate to mobile services. Now that we can go to 5G, the picture is different because you get access to new spectrum that has only recently been made available.
This creates opportunities for technology developers serving the global NSP community.
"At Technicolor, we see different operator strategies to harness the rise of 5G and we will support them in parallel depending on spectrum options (Sub 6 and/or millimeter wave). This being said, if Mobile users are migrating fast to 5G, then this will free up spectrum on LTE that can become very beneficial to the ones that run a Hybrid LTE broadband strategy," says Lafontaine.