LIVE FROM LTE ASIA, SINGAPORE: 4G is bringing operators together to cooperate on everything from business models to network sharing, but they still have a long way to go, particularly in making rigid systems more flexible.
In a panel on new operator business models, PS Tang, founding director of Packet One in Malaysia, said it is vital for individual operators to share and learn from each other, particularly on a regional level. “Beyond the standards, I urge operators to work closer together to share concepts, ideas and platforms.”
The CTO of Indonesian operator Bolt Super 4G, Devid Gubiani, noted that in the past operators generally have been reticent to cooperate with each other. But with 4G initiatives, he suggested, that mindset has started to change as operators look around at what everyone else is doing and share business models and business cases.
The other challenge he pointed to is more of a hardware issue than a mindset one, with a lack of flexibility in the many systems they have put in place. “We tend to specify on the technology side, and even on the product side, the things we know today.”
With the billing systems specifically, he said, operators are tied down to certain rigid models, with every new change taking time to implement, which gives competitors time to react faster. “We need to look beyond the market where we are today.”
Packet One’s Tang said moving forward operators need to be able to serve not just the consumer segment but also the industrial sector, which will necessitate more cooperation.
“This requires a mission critical communications layer. An enterprise-grade LTE network can be used to control cars and unmanned machines, such as drones. This will open up new revenue streams for operators to manage different applications,” Tang said, who also is a member of the Global TD-LTE Initiative’s steering committee.
Changkil Jo, VP at South Korea’s LG Uplus, noted that the cost of chipsets is still a barrier to rapid expansion in the Internet of Things space and wants to see industries work out the standards.