Report: All flavors of voice over mobile broadband to benefit operators

NEW ORLEANS--Voice over mobile broadband (VoMBB), regardless of which broadband connection a user happens to be using, could help operators save 63 percent in per-subscriber costs even before they have fully refarmed the spectrum occupied by legacy networks, according to a forthcoming white paper that Mavenir commissioned from Senza Fili Consulting

VoMBB includes voice over Wi-Fi, HSPA and LTE. While VoWi-Fi already exists, VoLTE is slated for deployment by some operators this year and VoHSPA has only recently gained serious attention as an option.

"There's a clear understanding that while LTE will grow very rapidly over the next five years, HSPA/HSPA+ will grow even more rapidly over the next five years," said Madan Jagernauth, vice president of marketing and strategy at Mavenir, which provides IP-based core network products to migrate voice and messaging services to LTE.

The opportunity for VoHSPA is therefore larger than the VoLTE opportunity, said Jagernauth. Further, hetrogenous networks with Wi-Fi-capable small cells will open up a larger opportunity for operators to offload voice traffic using VoWi-Fi, he said.

Mavenir recently commissioned a white paper from Senza Fili Consulting regarding the cost implications of the transition to VoMBB voice. The report's executive summary was released at the CTIA Wireless 2012 conference.

Among its findings, the paper said this transition will result in a 21 percent reduction in the number of carriers, meaning base station sectors, necessary to transport voice traffic. Further, VoMBB will deliver a 63 percent reduction in per-subscriber costs--projected to be $1.80 per subscriber per month in North America--and an additional cost reduction of $0.60 per subscriber per month after an operator fully refarms its 2G and 3G spectrum.

"By moving voice traffic to HSPA and LTE, operators need fewer 2G and 3G carriers for voice traffic. This frees up precious capacity in today's most intensely used and congested networks. Increasing capacity for data access in these networks is especially valuable at a time when operators want to focus new deployment efforts on HSPA and LTE but still need to accommodate what is becoming legacy traffic. The short-term need for this additional capacity and cost savings indicates that a rapid transition to VoLTE and VoHSPA is preferable to a delayed transition timed to long-term spectrum refarming plans," said the report.

According to Senza Fili, while not all voice traffic is suitable for routing via Wi-Fi "cost savings can be gained by encouraging subscribers to use Wi-Fi networks for voice.

Senza Fili recommends that because OTT VoIP demands more network resources than operator-managed VoMBB, mobile operators should transport what currently is OTT VoIP traffic as VoMBB simply because it would cost less. "This has implications for new models for charging for voice services and, possibly, for the development of new relationships between mobile operators and OTT application developers," said the report.

For more:
- see the Senza Fili report's executive summary (PDF)

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