15 things we learnt from Nokia
Nokia Networks gave those congregated at the ITU Telecom World in Doha a taste of the future.
"Right now people in advanced economies use, on an average, 2-3 GB of mobile data per month. Within a few years, this will increase to 1 GB a day."
Joachim Wuilmet, Head of Customer Marketing, Middle East, Nokia Networks
Inthe extended discussion we had after that with company representatives, Qatar Today came away with some exciting insights into what's ahead for mobile broadband. Here's the meat, minus all the trimmings. With Adnan Kureshy, Head of Marketing and Communications, MENA; and Joachim Wuilmet, Head of Customer Marketing, Middle East
1 Nokia Networks broke its own speed record by demonstrating a mobile network that can deliver 4.1 Gbps. It was achieved by aggregating 10 carriers. Commercially, the best we can do right now is the aggregation of two frequency bands. This is called LTE-A in the industry.
And even this feat is something only 20 operators in the whole world can boast of being able to do. These kinds of speeds and capacity will be necessary for the realisation of the Internet of Things. The 50 billion devices which will supposedly be connected by 2025 will need this kind of advance technology to handle traffic throughput.
2 While it's hard to predict the future, moments like these serve to give you a glimpse. It's not just a concept anymore, it's a reality. The tech is there but commercialisation needs to catch up. And why would anyone even want need these kinds of speeds on their mobile phones?
People in advanced economies use, on an average, 2-3 GB of mobile data per month right now. Within a few years, this will increase to 1 GB a day, with the main driver being video traffic. South Korea is one the world's biggest markets where video is consumed on mobile handsets. The second largest, incidentally, is Saudi Arabia.
3 This explosive rate of data usage is exactly with the flat rate of pricing by telecom operators is not sustainable. Because operators now generate more revenue from data than traditional telecom services like voice or texts. In some extreme cases, this is as high as 75% of the total revenue. The challenge for operators now is to address driving the right pricing model for data. Also people are more willing to pay more for data, because it is increasingly being consumed as entertainment rather than means of communication (and people don't mind paying more for entertainment).
4 The world is going data. Even voice is becoming a data application. Nokia Networks have previously demonstrated VoLTE ( Voice of LTE) and have even started their first deployment globally. It has proved to be very beneficial in terms of spectrum efficiency, voice quality, call setup time, etc.
5 We are still only in the beginning stages of commericalising LTE-A but its current adoption rate is even faster than that of 3G and 2G during their time. This will further accelerate as the combined effect of network evolution, more spectrum allocation, increased user demand and device availability. The latter is one of the reasons why networks Japan and South Korea are a bit more advanced in LTE-A technology because often handsets that have the specific capability are available in these markets before they are deployed globally.
6 After Nokia sold its handsets business to Microsoft last year, it has concentrated its focus on three key verticals – Nokia Networks, HERE and Nokia Technologies which is involved in intellectual
"The pre-standard, pre-commercial version of 5G should be available for the 2018 Korean Winter Olympics. For Qatar 2022 World Cup, the 5G as an industry will likely be commercially ready."
Adnan Kureshy, Head of Marketing and Communications, MENA, Nokia Networks
property and innovation. While their competitors are trying to be “everything for everybody”, they are working towards solidifying their position as a mobile broadband specialist.
7 Their timing couldn't have been more perfect with the world moving faster towards mobile broadband era. This allows for more things to be done through their networks than what was possible before thanks to higher throughputs and more bandwidth than fixed line businesses.
8 Though Nokia is no longer consumer facing, it has always been about people and continues to do so. They are expanding the possibilities of the connected world, keeping people at the centre so that human aspirations can be served more effectively by technology.
9 Since last year, Nokia has purchased a number of small companies working in specific technological areas that will make the company more efficient and innovation.
One example of this is a company that deals with predictive operations. With the rapid proliferation of 4G and the inevitable advent of 5G, networks will become increasingly more difficult to manage.
The company is working on analysing big data using machine intelligence to learn to predict patterns (in traffic, for example) that will allow them to manage the networks more effectively in addition to predicting failure and proactively fixing it.
One region, many needs
10 While Nokia Networks helped Ooredoo rollout the state-of-the-art LTE-A network in Qatar, it is also involved in deploying 3G in Iraq in partnership with Zain Iraq. Nothing could be more indicative of the diversity in the region.
11 There are still networks in MENA that haven't gone 3G. But bypassing 3G and jumping directly to 4G isn't the right option either. Among the many things we must consider, is that 3G devices can be bought at a more affordable price.
“There is nothing wrong with 3G. Everyone needs to go to at their own pace, depending on requirement.” In the region, the market is diverse. From the highest ARPU to lowest. The challenges are the same - everyone wants connectivity. And we want to connect the unconnected world in the most efficient, faster and cost effective way.
12 Iraq is a particularly hostile environment by Nokia says it is keen to support their customers in all kinds of challenging circumstances. And helping countries like Iraq develop their mobile broadband capabilities is doubly important considering the effect it can have on education, health, information sharing, etc. So Iraq's new 3G network (which is pending regulatory approval and is likely to be deployed in January) is a fantastic step, When the right time comes, devices attain the right scale and the price erosion continues, the move to 4G will happen.
5G, cloud and more
13 5G is the next era of things to come that will connect devices in scale that is not possible with 4G. When it is defined and commercialised, it'll bring innovation and serve the ecosystem of the wealthiest and most advanced economies to rural communities that are difficult to connect.
14 Work hasn't started seriously on 5G yet. A lot a framework needs to come together before that, debated and discussed by all the stakeholders - the ITU, country regulators, manufacturers like Nokia Networks, operators, vendors and device manufacturers. We need 10 times more spectrum that is available currently to drive this growth and regulators have to start allocating this. Once the standards are defined and ready (which might not be before 2020), the R&D can start. The pre-standard, pre-commercial version of 5G should be available for the 2018 Korean Winter Olympics. For Qatar 2022 World Cup, the 5G as an industry will be commercially ready.
15 Currently we have dedicated hardware and software for operate the network. But the industry is moving towards using standarised platforms with specialised software running on top of that. The future of telecom is a programmable world, run by software. That allows operators to be a lot more flexible. This means that if a network needs 1000 times more capacity, you wouldn't have to spend 1000 times more money. They can adapt and change network configuration without having to change the hardware. It's today's static capacity vs tomorrow's liquid capacity. For example, if there is a concert in a stadium, the capacity can be increased for that short duration to handle the thousands of people who will be uploading pictures and videos. Cloud telecom will help us put the capacity where there it is needed