Policy, 5G, IoT and video challenges facing CCA members – Carrier Wrap Ep. 65

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    CCA CEO Steve Berry and Ericsson exec Gowton Achaibar discuss policy, infrastructure deployment, 5G, IoT and video challenges and opportunities.

    On this week’s “Carrier Wrap” we speak with Steve Berry, CEO of the Competitive Carriers Association, on challenges and opportunities facing CCA carrier members, and Gowton Achaibar, head of strategy and technology at Ericsson, on how “5G,” the internet of things and video services are set to alter networks and operations for CCA members.
    RCR Wireless News attended the recent CCA Mobile Carriers Show in Las Vegas, where we talked with Berry and Achaibar on issues facing CCA members.
    Berry touched on recent decisions from the Federal Communications Commission regarding the Mobility Fund 2 program, which is an important source of funding for rural carriers looking to expand coverage into sparsely populated areas. Berry also claimed the recently closed 600 MHz incentive auction was a success for the industry, with hope that mobile operators would soon gain access to the spectrum assets being turned over by television broadcasters.
    Moving forward, Berry said infrastructure deployment challenges will be a big focus of CCA as carrier members look to build business cases around continued deployment of mobile broadband services.
    Speaking during a keynote address at the event, Achaibar started with the calming note that the move towards 5G is a natural advancement to where the market is today in terms of its use of 4G technology. However, with surging consumer and enterprise demand for video content, mobile operators jumping back into “unlimited” data plans and over-the-top players continuing to draw consumer usage on the backs of established operators, Achaibar laid out a future that could prove challenging for CCA members.
    Achaibar said Ericsson sees a transformation happening across multiple domains and access technologies, which are moving from support for “broadband” to “ultra broadband,” and the evolution of core networks moving from traditional telecom nodes to those powered by network functions virtualization and software-defined networking technologies.
    Along with the architectural changes, Achaibar said operations are moving towards those based on customer experience instead of alarm based. As an example, Achaibar noted a voice-over-LTE call being terminated on a network could appear to legacy analytics systems as ending like a regular call, but in fact the consumer had a poor experience due to an IP issue.
    Achaibar furthered the transformational nature of mobile network operations by stating carriers need to adjust their end-user focus from traditional consumers to instead better serve industry and IoT needs. This approach was highlighted by claims that IoT devices will outnumber “human” connections on mobile networks by 2021.
    Achaibar talked with RCR Wireless News following his keynote address to add more details on his speech.
    Thanks for watching this week’s show and make sure to check out our next “Carrier Wrap” when we speak with Federated Wireless CEO Iyad Tarazi to get an update on efforts to free up spectrum resources in the 3.5 GHz consumer broadband radio service band.
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