& cplSiteName &

C Spire Engineer: Major Concerns About VoLTE

Sarah Thomas

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
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
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.
Sarah Thomas
Sarah Thomas,
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
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, October 26, 1:00PM EDT
Security: Tackling DDoS
Gary Sockrider, Principal Security Technologist, Arbor Networks
Friday, October 28, 1:00PM EDT
Security: The Plusses and Minuses of Open Source Software
Nick Feamster, Acting Director, Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University
Wednesday, November 16, 1:00PM EST
SDN 101
John Isch, Practice Director, Network & Voice, Orange Business Services
Friday, November 18, 1:00PM EST
SDN & Open Source
Christopher W. Rice, Senior Vice President of AT&T Labs, Domain 2.0 Architecture and Design
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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 Custom TV
Next-Generation Technology Beyond DOCSIS 3.1

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Liu Jianhua speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Hybrid Video Solutions to Change TV, Change Future

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Ian Locke speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Future-Oriented Giga Coax Network

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

At SCTE 2016, Huawei's Allen Wang speaks with Alan Breznick for an exclusive interview.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei at SCTE 2016

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Alan Breznick of Light Reading and take a sneak peek at the Huawei booth at SCTE 2016.
LRTV Custom TV
Assuring Network Quality in a Rapidly Changing Environment

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

As the rate of change and complexity increases in agile networks, the importance of introducing DevOps methodologies for integrating active test and assurance solutions throughout the full service lifecycle becomes critical to ensure that customers are experiencing the service quality they demand. The industry landscape is changing, and software-based test and ...
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
A10 Networks on Service Providers' Industry Needs

10|20|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders hears how A10 enables service providers to accelerate, secure and optimize their application delivery to drive down costs, enhance service availability, and better respond to customer requirements, so they can improve customer satisfaction, monetize their network, and grow revenues.
LRTV Custom TV
New NFV Use Cases for Cable TV

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

A large number of NFV use cases are focused on the enterprise domain, looking at virtualization of customer-premises equipment (CPE). To date, there has been little focus on the use cases and business case for virtualization of the video content delivery networks required to deliver unicast and streaming video to consumers. Amdocs commissioned Analysys Mason to ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Meet the Future Workforce: New Faces, Expectations & Motivations

10|19|16   |   5:33   |   (1) comment

Millennials and their younger peers, Gen Z, expect more out of their network and more out of their work. Intel's Lynn Comp shares how the industry can prepare for this new generation of workers.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE Global Services User Congress 2016 Highlights

10|19|16   |     |   (0) comments

ZTE held its 2nd Global Service User Conference in Dusseldorf on October 13-14. Representatives from network operators, leading industry analysts and ZTE senior expertsattended the event, exploring the best practice in managed services and the vision to transform network operations into the operations center of the future (OpCF) in the software-defined networking ...
LRTV Custom TV
Cliff Grossner on Cloud & Network Synergy From Carrier Service

10|18|16   |     |   (0) comments

Local carriers offer the collaborated cloud and network service that benefits from their understanding of the regulations operating in different vertical markets.
In this interview, Cliff Grossner from IHS Technology talks about how this advanced service can support business agility and flexibility.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live from SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, VeEX's President and CEO, talks with Light Reading's Alan Breznick live from the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2016. They discuss DOCSIS 3.1 technology, deployments and early lessons learned. New products on display include the CX350s-D3.1, CX380s-D3.1, CX310, AT2500-3G, FX150 OTDR and MTT WiFI Air Expert.
LRTV Custom TV
Smith Micro's Carrier-Grade WiFi Component

10|17|16   |     |   (0) comments

Join Carol Wilson of Light Reading as she interviews the CTO of Smith Micro, Dave Sperling.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 10/21/2016
Trump: Dump AT&T/TW & Comcast/NBC
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/24/2016
T-Mobile: AT&T & TW Means Ma Bell Not Focused on Mobile
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 10/24/2016
Layer3 TV Comes to Town, Hints at Future
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/21/2016
Verizon Wants More Data on Yahoo Breach
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading, 10/20/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
There's no question that, come 2020, 5G technology will turn the world's conception of what mobile networking is on its head. Within the world of 5G development, Dr. ...
Animals with Phones
'Oh, Were You Looking for This?' Click Here
'I was just playing some games...'
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.