Light Reading

C Spire Engineer: Major Concerns About VoLTE

Sarah Thomas
3/27/2014
50%
50%

SAN ANTONIO -- CCA Global Expo -- When asked about his biggest concern around small cells, C Spire's Manager of RF Design Engineering Mitchell Jordan had one clear answer: VoLTE.

"One concern I have on small cell is it's all LTE focused, and I get that, but in a lot of places, we need that voice option for the small cell," Jordan said on a panel here. "I guess we have to depend on VoLTE for that. I just have major concerns about VoLTE."

His concern with the 4G voice technology is that the Tier 1 operators have said it would be deployed in 2013, then pushed it back to 2014, and now he worries it will be several more years out. The reason that worries him is C Spire is waiting on the Tier 1s to see how VoLTE goes before making any moves of its own. (See VoLTE: So Close You Can Hear It.)

Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) will power VoLTE for the operator, but C Spire hasn't laid out its own timeline for the technology. Jordan said its CDMA network won't be going anywhere until at least 2020, and it won't do VoLTE until the quality is comparable to voice on its CDMA network. (See C Spire Picks AlcaLu for 4G LTE Depolyment.)

That said, the carrier is moving forward on LTE. The engineer said that two-thirds of its network, which spans four southeastern US states, will be overlaid by LTE by the end of 2014, and it will convert nearly all, if not all, of its cell sites to LTE by the end of 2015.

It is also planning to start public-access small cell trials in the second or third quarter this year, and it has WiFi indoors through an agreement with Devicescape Software Inc. , but is working on expanding its managed access points outdoors. (See C-Spire Picks Devicespace for Wi-Fi Reach.)

The regional operator offers unlimited data plans, including a new $65 option it introduced this week, which Jordan said has really challenged its capacity constraints. He said C Spire's vendors have been surprised about how high its per-user data usage is, higher than most other carriers. That's why it's so interested in deploying small cells to help bolster capacity, but is also concerned about the cost of deployment, as well as the significant backhaul challenge. (See Poll: Backhaul Holds Up City Small Cells and Public Access Small Cells: Off to a Slow Start.)

"We embraced [WiFi] because we had to," Jordan said. "That's why femtocells, small cells come in too. We just don't have any other options to address the capacity crunch."

And, given its smaller size, it can't use dedicated carriers and it doesn't have a "war chest of spectrum," Jordan said. Self-organizing network (SON) technology will be critical to its small cell rollout.

"We need better coordination between networks to maximize spectrum," he said. "The FCC is not giving us spectrum as fast as we need it... We haven't deployed SON yet; we are still evaluating. A concern I have is as quickly as you can improve your performance on a network, you can destroy it as well."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(2)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 3:10:47 PM
Re: Waiting on tier ones
Another C Spire exec expressed to me that the carrier is not actually all that concerned about VoLTE and it won't be slowed by tier ones. It's actively exploring it, he said, but it's not in trials yet and has no launch date to announce.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 1:37:39 PM
Waiting on tier ones
I guess another way small operators get the short end of the stick is that they don't get vendor attention for new technologies until long after tier ones have deployed it. MetroPCS bucked that trend with VoLTE, but I wouldn't say the launch went all that well. I spoke with an Ericsson VP about it, and he just said big operators "have enough heft to move ecosystems. Small carriers can draft off that." It makes sense, but I also think the rural guys are often the most innovative, so it's too bad to see them stymied by the big guys.
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Cable Eyeing SDN for Headend, Home Uses

5|26|15   |   05:57   |   (1) comment


CableLabs is looking at virtualizing CMTS and CCAP devices in the headend, as well as in-home devices, says CableLabs' Karthik Sundaresan.
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Procera has gathered facts, stats and customer experience feedback from a survey of 540 users from across the globe.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Eurobites: Alcatel-Lucent Trials 400G in Czech Republic
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 5/26/2015
Charter Seals Deals for TWC, Bright House
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/26/2015
Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/21/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
On May 29th 10 AM ET, Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, will be drilling into the "pains and gains" of NFV with Saar Gillai, SVP & GM for NFV at Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) (HP). He has defined a four-step NFV model describing a sequence of technology innovation. It's a must-read doc for any network architect looking to get to grips with their NFV migration strategy. Join us for the interview, and the chance to ask Saar your NFV questions directly!
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
Cats with Phones
Too Fluffy to Talk Click Here
Elmer found that his bountiful fur got in the way of meaningful conversation.