Quenching the thirst for data: view from the field

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Resolve. That is the one word that sums up the keynote that I gave at this week’s Competitive Carrier’s Association (CCA) conference in Las Vegas. The CCA mostly represents regional and rural wireless carriers. They are a group that is used to fierce competition from the larger national carriers, but also a group that is creative, not afraid to innovate and good at finding a unique niche to run a successful business. They know their markets and are fine tuned to serve them whether they are the residents of Western Texas or the small business from the heartland.

Mike Schabel during his keynote at CCA

We all know the industry is in the middle of an extraordinary transformation, moving from deploying purpose-built Erlang networks to support mobile phone calls, to deploying wireless IP networks to accommodate the mobile “computers” we all use today. The industry effort required to make the “erlang to IP” shift happen is tough – at times even daunting. But as an industry, we don’t seem content with building just any IP network. We sign up to building Ultra Broadband Wireless IP networks. The key underlying challenge is the rate at which the network must be able to scale. With Erlang networks, we had to plan for networks that scale with the number of subscribers. Now, we must build networks that can handle 2-3x more traffic every year.

While challenge is nothing new to the attendees of the CCA show – keeping up with the technology decision of the larger deeper-pocket operators might be. Fortunately there are tools in the network toolbox that are aimed at any size operator. In my talk I shared how we can effectively use spectrum, LTE overlay strategies and heterogeneous networks that will fit the unique challenges of these specialized operators.

Source: Alcatel-Lucent

LTE is happening. It will bring all kinds of new opportunities for smaller and larger carriers alike. But change is hard and making change happen with the right economics and time frame is even harder. I have no doubt after spending a few days this group understands what they need to do and they will pour their energy, passion and resolve into making it happen. In the old school telecom world, providers had essentially one business model to deliver. In an IP-based world, it is about connectivity, service, and experience – plenty of room for innovation and differentiation. This is one group that knows how to do that – and I can’t wait to see where they will go.

If you would like to read the keynote presentation, click on the link below:

CCA Annual Convention Keynote: Quenching the Thirst for Mobile Broadband by Mike Schabel from Alcatel-Lucent

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