Light Reading

Sprint's Optimized Mobile Video Strategy

Sarah Thomas
4/23/2012
50%
50%

Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) knows its unlimited data plans are its biggest differentiator and the company is investing in mobile video optimization tools as a way to keep those plans alive as data usage increases across its networks. (See Sprint: Still Unlimited on 4G LTE Smartphones.)

Spint President of Network Operations Steve Elfman told reporters this month that the company is working closely with apps developers to optimize the content that hits its network. While Sprint doesn’t do specific analysis on what's driving data traffic volume, Elfman said video is a big part of it, so Sprint is changing how it handles video on the network. (See Photos: Inside Sprint's Network Vision , Photos: A Sprint Network Vision Cell Site and What I Learned at Sprint….)

Specifically, Sprint's investing in video optimization gateways ahead of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployment. The problem isn't the amount of video hitting the network, SVP of Networks Bob Azzi said. The problem is the radio network capacity is strained by the number and frequency of connections (signaling traffic) customers make to retrieve video. By using video optimization and Wi-Fi offload, Sprint can reduce that strain.

"When we deliver video, we we're wasting bandwidth," he said. Now, the core is aware of the type of device and the content the user is demanding and only sends the bandwidth necessary for both, reducing what's required at the RF layer.

Sprint wouldn't provide details on what vendors help it do this, but VP of Development and Engineering Iyad Tarazi said it has a "basket of tools" to match what the network and device are capable of doing versus what the application is sending.

"We used to see in the past, four to five years ago, one supplier doing caching, one doing encoding and decoding, others looking at pinching and throttling," Tarazi said. "We're now seeing consolidation and optimization tools that are customer-friendly."

The tools still have to do all the things he mentioned -- caching, encoding, decoding, etc. -- but now the tools focus on managing the network, rather than looking at the quality of the video that the content supplier is capable of delivering. That doesn't mean throttling, Tarazi said. But it could mean sending video to a consumer that is optimized for the network speed in a specific area, instead of sending the consumer the best possible version of that video available from the content provider.

"It's the intelligence of linking all the way to [where] the apps are originating to the device to the screen processor, etc. ... using network aware techniques to match the app with the network, eliminating waste," he said. This approach is especially important to Sprint as it's operating three different networks of varying speeds -- its 3G CMDA, WiMax and soon-to-be LTE networks. And, since LTE isn't live yet, the handsets designed for that network will fall back to CDMA for some time. (See Sprint LTE Devices Arrive Before Network and Sprint's LTE Evo Has HD Talk, No WiMax.)

Even with its focus on optimizing the data-intensive video, however, Sprint won't be encouraging customers to have a free-for-all. Sprint Chief Sales Officer Paget Alves admitted the carrier is walking a fine line between promoting its unlimited message and encouraging too much usage. So, while it'll promote mobile video on its network, it won't allow other actions, like video-based home systems.

"If you manage carefully the outliers who are abusing it and setting up video-based home systems or something like that, you can manage [data usage]," Alves said.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:35:28 PM
re: Sprint's Optimized Mobile Video Strategy


Of course, tablets are the best screen for mobile video viewing, and those are capped on Sprint. Still, anything it can do maintain unlimited data on smartphones is a good thing. Most of the tablets it sells are WiFi anyway.

SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:35:28 PM
re: Sprint's Optimized Mobile Video Strategy


All the major wireless operators are approaching video this way - doing what they can at the network level and, less so, handset level, because the content providers aren't doing much to help at the content level. It's especially important for Sprint though, because of how often LTE phones will be defaulting to CDMA - all year.

kaps
50%
50%
kaps,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:35:27 PM
re: Sprint's Optimized Mobile Video Strategy


It never ceases to amaze me -- the marketing people promote live ESPN and live NASCAR and then leave it up to the network folks to make it all work. Or talk about how they're going to try to make it work.


The good news is video works even on a strong 3G signal. Because as Sarah notes, that's where Sprint customers will be spending most of their time for the next year.

kaps
50%
50%
kaps,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:35:27 PM
re: Sprint's Optimized Mobile Video Strategy


It never ceases to amaze me -- the marketing people promote live ESPN and live NASCAR and then leave it up to the network folks to make it all work. Or talk about how they're going to try to make it work.


The good news is video works even on a strong 3G signal. Because as Sarah notes, that's where Sprint customers will be spending most of their time for the next year.

Flash Poll
From The Founder
The Swedish vendor has undergone a significant transformation during the past few years, adjusting to the demands of next-generation communications companies.
LRTV Documentaries
The 3GPP's Road to 5G Standardization

4|17|15   |   4:43   |   (0) comments


Satoshi Nagata, chairman of the 3GPP's TSG-RAN group and a manager at NTT Docomo, explains the standardization process for 5G, as well as the biggest challenges and opportunities.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu CTO Makes the Case for a New 5G Air Interface

4|16|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Michael Peeters, CTO of wireless at Alcatel-Lucent, explains why 5G will require a new air interface to meet its diverse performance targets.
LRTV Documentaries
AlcaLu + Nokia: The New Uber-Vendor

4|15|15   |   2:42   |   (4) comments


Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Gabriel Brown discusses the technological and competitive opportunities and challenges if a merger between Alcatel-Lucent and Nokia comes to pass.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Data Center Power Play

4|15|15   |   6:22   |   (0) comments


Huawei has developed industry-leading energy efficiency capabilities for its indoor and outdoor data center solutions, explains Dr. Fang Liangzhou, vice president of Huawei's Network Energy product Line.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei’s Routers, Switches Get the Green Mark

4|15|15   |   2:02   |   (0) comments


TUV Rheinland's Frank Dudley explains how Huawei's routers and switches have been successfully tested by energy efficiency experts and have gained Green Mark Certification.
LRTV Documentaries
A Finn, a Frenchman & a Guy From New Jersey Walk Into a Merger...

4|15|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


Stop us if you've heard this one before... Light Reading CEO Founder & CEO Steve Saunders weighs in on the technical and cultural implications of a Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent merger.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accounting for Better Solutions

4|10|15   |   02:31   |   (1) comment


Murad Yousuf, CTO at Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance (Dept. of Zakat & Income Tax), talks about the benefits of deploying router technology from Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
What's in Store for Huawei & DataCore?

4|10|15   |   05:44   |   (0) comments


At the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, George Teixeira, CEO of software-defined storage (SDS) specialist DataCore Software, explains why he has just signed a partnership agreement with Huawei Technologies.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Du Puts Its Faith in Huawei's Routers

4|9|15   |   3:42   |   (0) comments


Adnan Masood, director of Enterprise MS Solutions Marketing at du, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) operator also known as Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Company, explains why his company chose to use Huawei's multifunctional AR routers as part of its managed enterprise services.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Gets Active in the Data Center

4|9|15   |   3:17   |   (0) comments


With enterprise users looking to maximize the use of their data center assets, Huawei’s Chief Architect & Technical Director of IT Data Center Solutions, Bruce Su, explains how the company's six-layer active-active data center solution is eradicating the need to deploy passive, redundant data center assets.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Blue Consult & Huawei for a Better Solution

4|8|15   |   4:01   |   (0) comments


Martin Rott, CEO, and Marc Metzler, head of sales virtualization, from Germany's Blue Consult discuss their collaboration with Huawei and TrendMicro to develop a secure, scalable IT platform that can meet the needs of the most demanding enterprise users.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Beach Petroleum on eLTE & Mining

4|8|15   |   3:09   |   (0) comments


Network systems integrator Jeremy Hamlyn explains how Huawei's secure packet-based trunking communications system, eLTE, can help remote communities and companies in the mining, oil and gas sectors, deploy efficient communications networks that are perfect for video and data as well as voice.
Upcoming Live Events
May 5, 2015, Hyatt McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
May 6, 2015, Georgia World Congress, Atlanta, GA
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
November 11-12, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network Instruments, a JDSU division, shares results from its 2015 State of the Network, a global survey on security.
Hot Topics
Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 4/16/2015
Can WiFi Calling Find Its Voice?
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/13/2015
Senator Proposes New 'Title X' for Net Neutrality
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 4/13/2015
Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent in Merger Talks
Iain Morris, News Editor, 4/14/2015
Nokia & Alcatel-Lucent: What's Going On?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 4/15/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Data Center Interconnect, or DCI, is one of the hottest sectors in telecom currently. Since coming back to Light Reading last year, prodigal-son style, I've ...
LR CEO and Founder Steve Saunders sits down with the head of Qosmos to talk about the changing state of the art in deep packet inspection technology, including its role in SDN and NFV architectures.