Two thirds of global mobile operators believe sufficient numbers of LTE handsets will be available by 2013 to make the technology a commercial success, IP software provider BroadSoft claims.
A study of 40 carriers conducted for the firm by research group mobileSQUARED found that 33% expect commercial quantities of 4G handsets to be available as early as 2012, with a further third placing the date in 2013. The timeline is in step with major carrier’s plans to deploy voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), the firm notes, and indicates that consumer LTE services are building momentum.
Scott Hoffpauir, chief technology officer at BroadSoft, says the figures show VoLTE “can be a game changer for mobile carriers,” positioning them to “provide a single communications identity,” to consumers for services including voice, video and messaging regardless of the device used.
The technology evolution could also boost operator’s efforts in the corporate market by simplifying deployment of Unified Communications (UC) and Rich Communications Suite (RCS) services. Data sharing was ranked by 60.5% of carriers as the most important service offered under the UC and RCS umbrellas, with video and conferencing rated by 55.3%. Basic telephony services came joint third with instant messaging, rated by 44.7% apiece.
“We believe the introduction of these innovative communication services will enable MNOs to radically change the communication experience,” Hoffpauir says, adding. ”We expect to see voice become high-definition (HD) voice, video calling become a standard feature, and text messaging evolve to content messaging with the sharing of pictures and videos.”
The study also shows momentum in carrier deployments of LTE is building. While 15.8% of carriers say they have deployed or are in the process of rolling out LTE networks, a further 26.3% are trialing the technology, and 34.2% plan to launch in the future.