Press releases appear daily announcing Voice over LTE (VoLTE ) deployments in the U.S. AT&T introduced “High Definition Voice over a VoLTE network in select markets,” from May 23rd, while the day before T-Mobile announced the launch of VoLTE in the Seattle area for their existing LG G Flex and Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy Light customers.
In Europe, operators are announcing plans to invest hundreds of millions in voice upgrades and VoLTE trials, while in the UK, where 4G penetration is quite low, there is still hesitancy to invest in rolling out LTE networks due to its seemingly prohibitive cost.
So How Do Operators Overcome VoLTE Deployment Challenges?
At the recent TMForum Live in Nice, we heard several presentations relating to VoLTE deplyment and several options dedicated to keeping costs in perspective while having a manageable increase in site volumes. These included re-farming of spectrum and doubling site sectors in urban areas, but what many operators favour is an integrated LTE and wifi-based solution for all 4G rollouts using small cells.
But as noted in the recent Analysys Mason report on small cell deployment, deploying small cells is not straightforward, with challenges to overcome such as:
- Finding suitable locations for installations
- Providing backhaul, network and traffic planning
- Minimising the CAPEX associated with large numbers of small cells
Indeed, as the report notes, operators need small-cell solutions to evolve to become more complete and easier to manage.
Performance management takes centre stage
As European and UK operators contemplate the move to LTE and VoLTE, they are highlighting the need for performance management systems to provide a single view of end-to-end visibility across multiple network domains. And while rolling out new systems across these new, complex multi-layered networks, operators must also ensure legacy systems are fully integrated, whilst also introducing ever more smart automation to the whole network.
In the race to roll out VoLTE, operators will look to vendors for performance-management solutions that enable them to visualise and optimise their networks in real-time. Users will expect an optimal and seamless user experience for both voice and, increasingly, data services, and operators will have the opportunity to differentiate by providing the best network performance and service quality.
Our ZenPM™ Performance Management solution is a proven, customer hardened, real time telco performance management solution for every network element; whether IP, switch based, 2G, 3G or 4G/LTE. Read more about Zen and performance management.