User experience improvement; accelerating home broadband; and redefining telecom networks

Peng Wei, President, Network Marketing & Solution Sales Department and Xiaofeng, Executive Vice President and Head of Marketing and Solution Sales of Huawei ME discuss the current market scenario at UBB media roundtable during the SAMENA Telecom Leader’s Summit 2017


User Experience

User experience has become vital for operators to stay competitive in the sphere of broadband operation. User experience can be classified into service acquisition experience (for instance how long it takes to provision services or allocate bandwidth) and service application experience (for instance video playback quality, the amount of provisioned bandwidth, or how long it takes for complaints to be resolved).

From market performance, in addition to network quality and pricing, service acquisition experience has become a key factor affecting user operator selection. Therefore, better service acquisition experience can help to attract more new users.

Service application experience can be divided into fault resolution experience and content usage experience. If a fault is not resolved quickly enough, users may look elsewhere for better quality service. When it comes to content usage experience, the focus is currently on 4K video. Highvalue broadband users expect to get their money’s worth, and so a high quality experience must be guaranteed.

Line quality, Inventory Accuracy, and Proper IT Support Systems are Vital for Service Acquisition Experience

1. High line quality is the basis of a fast service acquisition experience

The primary KPI of service acquisition experience is the success rate of initial service provisioning. That is, whether service provisioning is completed as specified in the scheduled service-level agreement (SLA). This KPI mainly depends on the line Quality during network construction. Therefore, line quality must be ensured right from the beginning, in strict accordance with construction rules and regulations.

2. Inventory management accuracy significantly affects service acquisition experience

Service acquisition experience deterioration and inaccurate inventory management are directly correlated. Inventory management can be divided into four phases of development:

Phase 1, paper-based system without any digital inventory management.   Phase 2, digital inventory management system (IMS) with an accuracy of less than 98%.  Phase 3, IMS with an accuracy of more than 98%. Phase 4, service and inventory visibility based on users’ physical address.

Currently most operators are in phase 2 or 3. The issue that needs to be resolved for both phases is the inconsistency between actual physical inventory information and data in the inventory management system.

Phase 2 and Phase 3 inventory or resource inaccuracy can be improved the rearranging of network resources or the backwards calibration of service provisioning periods. Phase 4 requires the transformation of the OSS system, consolidating existing inventory data, networkwide line quality information, visualized user line status, access type, available bandwidth, and same-cell service application. This then enables the operator to target their marketing towards user groups who have not applied for broadband or video services, or those that have only applied for low bandwidth. This can greatly improve the rate of broadband users and bandwidth usage.

3. Choosing a suitable service provisioning system accelerates time-to-market

Building a comprehensive service provisioning system requires on average more than six months. This is far too long, according to mobile operators and new operators, as it can seriously affect the launching of services. Internet-based service development thinking and a Mini OSS solution can help to accelerate the time-to-market of new services, by shortening the service provisioning period.

Big Data Analytics to Precisely Identify Valuable Home Broadband Users

Currently, different regions around the world adopt different strategies for precise FTTx investments. These strategies generally incorporate the following phases: analyzing and determining potential users and valuable communities, setting market development goals based on the values of those communities, and promoting precise marketing, network planning, and construction.

Currently, different regions around the world adopt different strategies for precise FTTx investments. These strategies generally incorporate the following phases: analyzing and determining potential users and valuable communities, setting market development goals based on the values of those communities, and promoting precise marketing, network planning, and construction.

Precise FTTx investments specifically focus on the following three phases:

First, analyzing big data to identify valuable users. This includes fully considering customer market and network data, information obtained through web crawling, and data from third parties (such as governments, industries, and OTT providers), and then abstracting valuable data with focus on important indexes such as the location, consumption, competition, development, and inventory.

Second, developing mathematical models and using big data to objectively evaluate the comprehensive value indexes of home broadband communities. Based on these indexes, development goals of home broadband users in different communities can be calculated.

Third, based on current home broadband network coverage, technology selection, and finance models, such as the total cost of operation (TCO) or net present value (NPV) model, considering the technologies related to bandwidth acceleration, new FTTx construction, and fiber-copper synergy in depth. In this way, precise fixed broadband network plans and construction solutions can be delivered for different communities.

Planning Tool to Seek Precise Home Broadband Investments

Huawei’s Smart CAPEX solution uses the uNetBuilder (a key planning tool) for precise home broadband investments. Based on multi-dimension data input and big data analysis, the uNetBuilder matches the geographic information system (GIS) and dynamically displays realtime information about live networks. Using this tool, operators are able to calculate community value indexes, set refined development goals, and accurately plan and construct home networks.

As Video Becomes a Basic Service, Telecom Carriers Must Redefine their Networks

The video business is growing faster than anyone could have imagined. In 2016, the number of IPTV users in China doubled to 110 million. And in more than three quarters of China’s provinces they have the option of watching IPTV in 4K HD. Last year both YouTube and Facebook launched virtual reality (VR) services. When the Chinese pop star Faye Wong played a concert in December, more than 20 million people streamed it over the Internet or on VR.

VR services are now very much part of the online video landscape. At the same time, voice over LTE (VoLTE) is becoming increasingly common, offering users HD video and audio services. Analytics firm IHS predicted that 2.3 billion people, or 80% of LTE users, will have access to VoLTE services by 2021. In addition to home entertainment, 170 million IP cameras will soon be connected to fixed or wireless networks, enhancing public safety by monitoring streets and property worldwide.

Networks built for video deliver the best video experience

Early mobile networks were created to carry voice traffic. The needs of voice dictated the 2G and PSTN standards. Later, the needs of data shaped 3G technology and IP networks. Video raises a whole new set of challenges. It demands low latency and high bandwidth; data flows are high, and traffic bursts are frequent. Carriers that make video a basic service must redefine their networks to adapt to the needs of this new medium, optimizing them to guarantee the best user experience.

What carriers need first is a low-cost, high-bandwidth network. It must enable gigabit connections to the home, gigabit access via any media, and a stripped-down three-layer architecture.

In addition, there are three other key areas to consider:

1. End-to-end operations & maintenance. Users are extremely sensitive to the quality of their video experience. Carriers must make the experience that they deliver manageable, predictable, and sustainable. To achieve this, carriers need a standardized system for measuring the quality of the video experience; a smart experience management platform that enables proactive O&M from end to end; and a cross-departmental team dedicated to optimizing end-toend network performance and processes. With these three elements in place, carriers will be able to use their O&M tools and systems to quickly diagnose network issues, and cut the OPEX for their video business.

2. High-bandwidth uplink: Copper and 3G/4G access technologies cannot offer the same bandwidth for both uplink and downlink. They cannot meet backhaul demands of industry video services. At the present time FTTH is the primary answer to this problem, but if carriers want to meet all the different industry needs, they will have to use a broad portfolio of uplink solutions: 5G Wi-Fi, Sub-6 GHz P2MP Microwave, and eLTE.

3. Scalable networks: Live video broadcasts of popular events can drive sudden spikes in video demand which may undermine users’ video experience. Under the old approach, expanding network capacity takes weeks. To cope with sudden surges in demand, networks must be able to scale up within seconds, requiring that they have great flexibility in capacity, scheduling, and data traffic control.

Capacity is delivered by an All Cloud strategy. Network Function Cloudification (NFC) enables carriers to shift their content distribution networks (CDNs), session border controllers (SBCs), storage, computing, and other functions into the cloud. Therefore, they can flexibly scale up network elements and processing to handle the sudden spikes of video services.

Video networks help carriers maintain a competitive edge in the ecosystem

Video services connect diverse content with diverse users, so they are inherently collaborative. They succeed when the ecosystem succeeds. Carriers have a unique strength, because their business is connecting users over ICT networks, but this alone is no guarantee of success.

Carriers will need to leverage all their online-to-offline channels and operational strengths to build a bigger video ecosystem. They will have to offer upstream content providers new ways to monetize their content, and offer downstream users the best video experience. The carriers that succeed at this will play a pivotal role in the emerging video ecosystem. They will be the success story of the video era.