As global 3G networks are upgraded to 4G or 5G, mobile social networking, mobile video, and online gaming have become the most representative services being used by mobile users. In addition, mobile video now demands higher end to end (E2E) network quality. For example, a minimum of 10 Mbit/s is needed to ensure smooth playback of 1080p mobile videos. A global investigation jointly performed by Huawei and Ovum in 2015 indicated that more than 55% of mobile subscribers regard speed and coverage as key factors when selecting an operator. Therefore, investing in a better network to create superior network experience, is one of the most effective was to continuously retain and grow customer base.
Traditional networks focus on operator benefits, such as network performance, efficiency, and service quality, but these aspects do not reflect subscriber experience. Due to dynamic network and service changes, slight network key performance indicator (KPI) deterioration (such as 0.1%) may result in significant deterioration of subscriber experience. If this situation persists, the operator's brand suffers, and subscriber attrition increases. As data of the telecommunication industry is mushrooming, operator businesses can succeed only when they develop and retain legacy subscribers, improve subscriber experience, optimize network performance and efficiency, and improve service quality as measured by subscriber experience, achieving massive traffic monetization.
Huawei developed the Network Experience PLUS solution. Based on different operator requirements, and on the planning & optimization, and successful experience with 1000 networks delivered all over the world, Huawei believes differentiated network experience to be the core of Network Experience PLUS. A differentiated network experience helps improve subscriber experience and network brands, and retain and attract subscribers. With the help of service and network development strategies, differentiated network experience facilitates business success.
Analysis of differentiated network experience
Many operators have an urgent need to construct Network Experience PLUS network, but their ideas differ in the details. For example: In 2012, Operator S in Switzerland, was ranked last in Connect test, which was a very bad influence for its industry-leading brand. High level Operator S executives publicly declared that they expected to improve benchmark ranking, increase the net promoter score (NPS), retain and attract more subscribers, and construct industry leading mobile broadband network.
In China, Operator M (Hangzhou branch) proposed VoLTE development strategy in 2015 to improve basic voice services and to fight off the competition. In addition, Operator M launched 4G+ HD voice and network acceleration services. In Korea, about two years after Operator S launched VoLTE services, its VoLTE subscriber penetration rate quickly increased from 6% in 2012 to 80% in the beginning of 2015, efficiently facilitating its business success.
In Saudi Arabia, the Hajj pilgrimage is the largest annual event for Muslims. In the last third of September, each year, over three million pilgrims gather in and around Mecca in an area covering 26 km2. Ensuring normal communications during the event is a top priority for all operators in Saudi Arabia. In China, during the 70th anniversary victory of anti-fascist war success in 2015, the subscriber density around Tiananmen Square in Beijing is four times that seen during the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. Most of the subscribers are VIP subscribers, and the proportion of concurrent subscribers reaches up to 46.8%. The peak traffic of data services during busy hours reaches 67 GB, which is an enormous amount. It is critical that normal communications are guaranteed during this event.
In Korea, the subscriber quantity of Operator L's 3G networks increase slowly. Its brand reputation lags far behind the competition, and revenues are insufficient. To beat the competition, Operator L started launching LTE networks. They focused on high-value, subscriber-sensitive areas, enhancing coverage in hotspots. In the capital, Operator L selected 14,000 hotspots. They selected buildings and subways, improving network quality and increasing capacity for these densely-populated areas, aiming to reduce subscriber complaints and improve subscriber experience. In 2013, subscriber experience and network performance in selected hotspots surpassed that of the competition, and operating income increased by more than 300%. The typical business scenarios of the four operators indicate that improved branding, differentiated service experience, key event assurances, and hotspot improvement were all based on network experience differentiation. These four aspects are also key factors helping operators compete and win.
More and more network rankings are based on subscriber experience. The most common are those provided by a third party or government regulation, or OTT. The three types of rankings are almost used by all countries in the world. As subscribers demand ever more of their network experience, third party rankings have become the most widely used and developed because the tests are based on the service experience and the ranking result will be published. Operators are experiencing more pressure than ever from these third party rankings. Some operators even take the rankings into account when for CTO performance appraisals. Huawei is always working to help operators increase third, government regulation, and OTT rankings, efficiently improving operator brands. For example, from 2013 to 2015, Huawei helped Operator S in Switzerland continuously increase their score in P3 test, and Operator S’s voice service score now tops the list of the 10 operators in European countries speaking German. Not only that, Operator S’s subscriber base has continued to grow, and the revenues and NPS have continued to rise.
The primary revenue stream in recent years has continued to be voice services. However, revenues from mobile voice services are being replaced by OTT services. Operators need to optimize their voice service solutions to respond to the challenges from OTT services. With the emergence of VoLTE, there is now a new way for operators to compete with OTT. Operators must ensure better VoLTE voice quality and a lower voice call setup time than traditional services by providing good network coverage and mature E2E network integration, as well as making use of VoLTE service advantages. LTE networks bring high-speed data and video services to mobile terminals. With rapidly developing OTT services, subscribers want more from their video services: convenience, unified access, a consistent experience on all terminals, high definition, and mobility. A better video experience ensures strong subscriber loyalty. Take Operator L in Korea for example. Video services have become the lion's share of the average revenue per user (ARPU), and video service development has changed the network traffic composition. The global Internet report provided by Marry Meeker in 2015 indicated that video traffic had reached up to 64% of all Internet traffic in 2014, and it had reached up to 55% of all mobile Internet traffic. From the perspectives of traffic monetization, traffic development, and subscriber loyalty, operators see development of video services as an essential strategy. VDF, LGU+, and China Mobile have been showing an increasing focus on video services.
Huawei focuses on mainstream high-value services (such as VoLTE and mobile video) promoted by operators, and helps operators provide clear voice services and smooth video services. This way, the service experience continuously improves, subscriber loyalty is enhanced, new subscribers are attracted and current subscribers retained. In 2015, Huawei helped Operator M (Hangzhou branch, China) deploy VoLTE services. The MOS for voice services increased from 3.0 to 4.0, and call setup time decreased from 8s to about 2s, significantly enhancing subscriber satisfaction.
The use of intelligent terminals and mobile Internet services has been growing fast, and traffic has been growing with it. The increase in traffic has tended to converge in various hotspots. Statistics from the Huawei mLAB show that 90% of the data and nearly 70% of subscriber complaints are generated in indoor hotspots and the service throughput in a hotspot site is 6.5 times that for a common site. Easing the pressure caused by rapid network development and improving mobile service experience has become a heated topic for operators.
Central business districts (CBDs) are characterized by tall buildings, high population density, high-rise office buildings housing VIP subscribers, and shopping malls and strip malls with heavy traffic. Large venues, such as stadiums and shopping centers, also have ultra-dense and ultra-high traffic. For example, if a stadium can house nearly 70,000 people, on average there will be at least one person for every square meter. During a match, there will be thousands of voice calls and hundreds of GBs of data being transmitted. For transport hubs, like an airport, there are large-scale buildings, multiple functional areas, and a large number of roaming and high-end subscribers. In these areas, subscribers have high service requirements. These areas have become essential for operators wishing to attract high-end subscribers.
Huawei helps operators improve subscriber experience in hotspots, such as CBDs, shopping malls, and on high-speed railways. Subscribers can access the network any place, any time, quickly download or upload files, use multiple value-added services, and enjoy various services without waiting. Subscriber experience is enhanced, and more traffic is stimulated. For example, Huawei helped Operator M in China improve subscriber experience with services on the Beijing-Shanghai High-speed Rail by significantly reducing the call drop rate and web page browsing delay.
Each year people around the world celebrate more than 600 major festivals and holidays, such as Spring Festival in China, Christmas, or the Muslim Eid Al-Adha. In addition, there are a large number of sports or entertainment activities, such as the World Cup, the Olympics, or various concerts, hold in different places all over the world. During key events, a large number of subscribers in a concentrated area use the network at the same time. When this happens, operator networks have to deal with the explosive traffic, potentially a multifold increase. Such massive traffic may reach or exceed the performance and capacity specifications of operators’ networks, resulting in instabilities, burst problems, and poor subscriber experience.
Regardless of population density, burst traffic peak volume, numerous VIP subscribers at these sports events, holidays, political and religious activities, or emergencies, Huawei always ensures the network performance keeps stable, and services are not interrupted, to maintain excellent user experience in key critical occasion that greatly help operators improve brand reputation. For example, during the 2015 World Gymnastic Tournaments hold in the Beijing National Stadium (the Bird's Nest), Huawei helped Operator M in China achieve a radio access success rate of more than 99%, smooth upload and download services, and OTT services that remain responsive even when there are 80,000 audience members and a brand-new service model.
Huawei Network Experience PLUS Solutions
Based on the above core ideas for differentiated network experience, Huawei promotes Network Experience PLUS solution, including: Brand Ranking Improvement Solution, Superior Voice Solution, Superior Mobile Video Solution, Hotspot Experience Improvement Solution, and Event Experience Improvement solution.
Brand ranking improvement not only enhances operator reputation but also helps attract new subscribers and drive revenues. If network performance is challenged, network optimization and adjustment will not be sufficient to ensure the network meets expectations. Targeting site planning has become crucial to balancing operator investments and brand ranking improvement. Huawei Brand Ranking Improvement Solution compares the gap between a specific operator and the target operator and audits current network resources. Based on these gap analysis, a ranking objective is specified and deconstructed into discrete performance KPIs. With the help of leading benchmark KPI modeling and evaluation, recommended site locations are planned to improve the upmost benchmark ranking score. The ranking score improvement can also be predicted based on the benchmark modeling capability. Finally, this improvement is presented with high-precision geographic observation.
Voice services are traditional core services and are always making primary contributions to operator revenues. As LTE networks develop, LTE network-based voice services become one of the keys to network experience differentiation. The VoLTE solution has advantages over other LTE voice service solutions and will be the final voice service solution when LTE networks become more mature. The VoLTE solution not only provides subscribers with improved voice services, but also presents considerable technological challenges. For example, the VoLTE service is sensitive to weak coverage, and difficult to evaluate; multi-band multimode network design is complicated; basic network performance affects the voice mean opinion score (MOS); and some network element (NE) problems are difficult to locate due to the complexity of the system.
To address these, this solution recommends LTE networks working on low frequency bands, which improves intensive coverage and provides flexible capacity in hotspots. In Huawei’s integration & verification lab, live network conditions are simulated to evaluate and verify the planned solution, ensuring a quick launch. To simplify the procedure for designing a multi-band multimode network, problems in two pipes (air interface pipe and bearer network pipe) and three NEs (terminals, core network, and eNodeB) are analyzed, quickly improving basic network performance and ensuring voice service quality. The Huawei unique SEQ platform can be used to simultaneously demarcate problems in multiple NEs and multiple network modes, and provide subscriber-level call detail records (CDRs). This way, problems can be demarcated quickly, and the complaint handling duration is significantly shortened.
The traffic of mobile videos is closely related to various mobile subscriber behaviors. This solution precisely analyzes widely used service models on the live network and vMOS differences, with the help of various key capabilities, such as network data association, geographic analysis, and vMOS evaluation. Based on the characteristics of the video service scenarios, various algorithms are provided to dynamically predict the traffic for mobile videos, and the time and spatial distribution of the traffic generated short-, medium-, or long-term in hotspots. The predictions help precisely identify valued areas and provide a reliable basis for operator investments.
Mobile video services have many distinguishing characteristics, such as their E2E service process, heavy traffic, concurrent application, strong perception, and complex and changeable procedures and other factors. Due to these characteristics, this solution takes different video service experience objectives and traffic prediction results into consideration, and uses the 3D coverage simulation technology during radio network planning. The technology can accurately identify weak coverage areas in a planning area. This solution also uses other technologies (macro-micro coordination, multiple carriers, carrier aggregation, multiple sectors, and automatic parameter planning) to achieve intensive horizontal and vertical coverage in buildings, and quick network access. These technologies ensure smooth mobile video playback. To minimize the impact of heavy traffic and concurrent video traffic on the bearer network, the content delivery network (CDN) resource usage is used to configure mutual-aid nodes, and the CDN traffic helps plan transmission resources on a bearer network. To ensure experience of a large number of video services in hotspots, the video buffer and intelligent buffer policies are configured based on key events on the core network and the quality of service (QoS) policy for key hotspots and most popular video services. This way, network-level video service experience is fully improved.
Guarantee of the video service brand and stable competitiveness requires continuous monitoring and analysis of video quality. Huawei professional services provide routine network optimization based on the geographic observation of top cells and complaints about video services. E2E data sources are associated and analyzed to precisely demarcate and locate problems with video services. A dedicated optimization solution is available for problems in different network segments, facilitating problem resolution and ensuring video quality and customer satisfaction.
This solution increases the return on investment (ROI). This solution differentiates indoor and outdoor traffic based on big data, such as subscriber behavior, network characteristics, and subscriber locations. Six traditional site metrics are evaluated, including subscribers, traffic, and network performance value, and a new one: services. Different service requirements are analyzed to set service target weights. Iterative planning simulations are performed to plan suitable sites. The planned sites must satisfy coverage and experience objectives of different services in different areas. For indoor scenarios, this solution efficiently provides 3D modeling for complicated, diversified scenarios, using CAD/pattern recognition and digital modeling technologies. The modeling is then used for high-precision planning. After site planning is complete, a site is scored to determine its construction priority. For the selected sites, benefits of different solutions are compared and analyzed in advance to determine an optimal solution, ensuring indoor network investment is appropriate.
Huawei has also established a 3D combat system based on decades of global network deployment experience, one that responds quickly to network planning and optimization needs. This system includes two parts: devices and the cloud. The devices are sets of highly portable, onsite backpack test equipment. In a specific hotspot, automatic testing can be conducted. Network and service test results, as well as site survey results are uploaded to the cloud platform with a single click. With the uploaded data, the remote cloud platform provides an optimal solution based on the integrated scenario-based solution library or on expert evaluation and analysis. In addition, the platform allows for solution customization. The platform efficiently designs and optimizes a solution, and predicts the effects of its implementation. Finally, the platform quickly delivers the solution to the onsite device for implementation and delivery. This system provides centralized, standardized services. It can quickly identify network problems and provide solutions, improving the planning and optimization efficiency and quality.
As subscriber behaviors change, subscriber experience during major events becomes an important factor for evaluating operator service quality. It directly affects operator and reputation. This solution is suitable not only for network guarantees for various scenarios, such as sports events, holidays, exhibitions, religious activities, and music carnivals, but also for those on new networks, using new technologies, new services, and for key operation and maintenance (O&M) events.
This solution provides operators with dedicated network service guarantees during key events. It focuses on problem prevention before an event, service guarantees during an event, and experience summary and standardization after an event. With a series of professional services involved in an event, such as capacity, resource, and coverage evaluation based on the heavy traffic prediction and traffic model analysis results, coverage and capacity planning and optimization, and emergency solution rehearsal and preparation, E2E key event assurance by scenario is possible for operators, letting them provide high-quality performance and an excellent service experience, improving their image and increasing revenues.
Global Success Experience
Huawei Network Experience PLUS in the world has many successful applications , now more than 30 operators by brand ranking improvement solution enabled brand competitiveness; more than 100 operators achieved the lifting of voice and data services experience; more than 5000 hotspots regional realized user experience enhancement; in more than 500 major events, subscriber experience has been guaranteed.