Oracle exec: Video key element in VoLTE revenues

LONDON--Communications service providers (CSPs) should offer voice calling for free on LTE networks and instead make their money by charging subscribers and advertisers for video calls, a senior product marketing analyst at Oracle Communications said.

Alex Westley told delegates attending the LTE Voice Summit here that CSPs should monetise the video portion of VoLTE networks, and give subscribers free access to the high-definition (HD) voice services the technology provides.

Westley noted that CSPs need to make it easy for subscribers to understand how much data they are using. For example, five-minutes of video calling per day for one month (30 days) translates to between 1.2 GB and 1.8 GB of data per month, he noted.

"If we take the example that HD voice is free… that five minutes calling a day translates to 150 minutes per month, so I think it needs to be easier to understand for subscribers," Westley said, adding that by doing so, carries can "make a better environment" for their customers.

Service providers also have an opportunity to use VoLTE to offer new revenue-generating services. One such service is sponsored calling. Westley cited an example of a parent and child conducting a video call, noting that if the latter is out of cash the parent "could sponsor the video call"--or, put another way, the parent can pay for the video session.

Sponsored calls could extend beyond that example and into a full blown advertising model, Westley noted. In this scenario, an advertiser could pay for the cost of a video call session in return for short commercials being shown during the call. "We're seeing that video calling can use quite a lot of data, and whether subscribers will want to pay for that is yet to be seen," Westley said.

Voice over Wi-Fi is another benefit of deploying VoLTE, Westley argued, noting Wi-Fi could be used to boost indoor network coverage and so help operators to monetise VoLTE.

"Basic voice and basic video are just the tip of the iceberg and VoLTE is developing a platform for many…new types of services," Westley said.

While VoLTE presents many new opportunities for service providers, Westley noted that they must deploy the new technology gradually to ensure continuity, and quality, of service. Subscribers are unlikely to tolerate breaks in their existing voice services, for example.

"If you were running a marathon, you wouldn't just go out and run a marathon--you need to train, you need to gradually work up to running the whole marathon. It can be the same way for deploying VoLTE--if you just jump straight in, you're quite likely to get an injury," in the form of dropped or hard to place calls.

"Voice already works today, so if this [dropped call] scenario takes place in the network, it's going to lead to churning of subscribers because voice is such a fundamental requirement," Westley noted.

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