& cplSiteName &

EE Shares 4G Lessons Learned

Michelle Donegan
LR Mobile News Analysis
Michelle Donegan
12/5/2012
50%
50%

LONDON -- LTE/EPC & Converged Mobile Backhaul -- EE shared some of the challenges it faced and lessons it learned from launching the U.K.'s first, and only, 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service here at Layer123's industry conference dedicated to LTE and mobile backhaul on Tuesday.

EE launched LTE services on Oct. 30 using the 1800MHz spectrum that it already had for delivering 2G services. By refarming this spectrum for LTE services, the U.K.'s largest mobile operator with 27 million subscribers will be able to offer 4G services for at least seven months ahead of its rivals Telefónica UK Ltd. (O2), Vodafone UK and 3 , which need to acquire LTE spectrum from the upcoming auction scheduled to start in early 2013. (See How Not to Do 4G, EE-Style, Euronews: 4G Arrives in UK, EE Unveils 4G Price Plans, Brits Braced for 4G and Euronews: Will UK Fast-Track 4G Auction?)

But it wasn't easy, as Mansoor Hanif, EE's director of network integration and LTE, explained.

Among the technical challenges EE faced were lack of device support, uncertainty about voice services and having to support two different legacy networks -- that is, those of Orange UK and T-Mobile (UK) , as EE is the joint venture of Orange (NYSE: FTE)'s and Deutsche Telekom AG (NYSE: DT)'s U.K. operations.

Hanif said that it was particularly difficult to convince device manufacturers to add support for EE's 1800MHz band in LTE smartphones. "To get some of them on board and get 1800MHz on their roadmaps involved endless negotiations, discussions and a lot of drama behind the scenes," he said.

Another issue for EE was how to deliver voice services by using the legacy 2G and 3G networks, which is referred to as circuit-switch fallback (CSFB). The operator knew its 4G service launch would focus on smartphones from the start, so it had to be able to deliver voice. But the problems were that there was no device ecosystem in place, especially for 1800MHz devices, to support CSFB and there were "serious doubts" about performance and call setup times. All this caused a lot of "nervousness" for the operator, Hanif said.

The backhaul network design was yet another challenge, which was made more difficult by the fact that EE has a network-sharing agreement in place with 3 for the transport network. That meant EE had to agree on the network design plans with its rival.

"To agree on best design [for backhaul] is a challenge, to agree on that with your competitor is another challenge," said Hanif.

4G lessons
Given all of those hurdles to clear, it seems a wonder that EE got its service off the ground when it did.

Here's what Hanif said EE has learned from the process:

  • CSFB adds minimal call setup time and it's below the threshold for customers to notice. So there's no need to rush to VoLTE -- that is, the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS)-based way to deliver voice over LTE networks.
  • There needs to be careful setting of radio idle times to optimize battery life while balancing signaling load and service performance. Operators have to look at that issue very carefully.
  • The IPSec deployment was surprisingly more difficult than expected. "It caused us serious issues in terms of getting the network up and running," Hanif said.
  • Backhaul decisions had to be optimized to meet tight deadlines and demand for coverage and high quality performance. So, EE opted for Gigabit Ethernet capacity from BT Wholesale and Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) along with point-to-point, single-hop microwave links in its backhaul network. (See MBNL Backhauls With Virgin Media.)
  • The LTE "uplink is fantastic, it's magnificent," he said. Indeed, Hanif said that the amount of data users have sent over EE's 4G network since it's been launched is the equivalent of uploading the "Gangnam Style" video 19 million times. [Ed note: Now, who wouldn't tire of that?]


-- Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Web-Scale View

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's former chief analyst Patrick Donegan shared insight from the recent web-scale operators report, which featured research on how web-scale operators view the market, the best web-scale companies to ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Cloud Scale Networking: Automation, Virtualization & Simplification

1|18|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Sanjeev Mervana outlines the latest innovations in networking technology at CES 2017 in Las Vegas.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
A Women in Comms Glossary
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 1/18/2017
Is Cable One Beefing Up for Slaughter?
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 1/20/2017
Nokia CTO: 2017 Is the Year 5G Gets in the Field
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 1/19/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Cable Has One Thing Verizon Needs
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.