By Indranil Chatterjee
Mobile video is growing at a phenomenal rate, but it is a double-edged sword. Openwave Mobility’s research on live operator networks found that currently video is 58% of traffic by volume worldwide. Subscribers love it, but monetizing it is easier said than done, given the flood of HD content and encryption that is adversely impacting Quality of Experience (QoE). That was the clear message from operators across the board who attended the MViC.
The Council in fact debated the conflicting components of Video QoE i.e. Quality of Delivery (reduced buffering) versus Quality of Picture (resolution) and the implications. Why does this matter? That’s because when subscribers experience poor quality when streaming video our research found that consumers blame the operator, not the OTT. And it is only a matter of time before they churn. With more video traversing mobile networks than ever before, QoE is a major headache.
So, what were some of the key 5G takeaways for operators from the MViC?
1. The how and why of mobile video: Interestingly, most operators experienced growth in mobile video during 4G – from 2010 to 2015 – and it came as a result of increased video watch times. But, since 2015, growth in mobile video has come significantly as a result of a move to higher bandwidth HD content, rather than greater watch time only. That’s evidence of HD content from the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Video growing in popularity. As operators prepare for the dawn of 5G, there is one sure-fire certainty: HD content (including 4K and soon 8K content) and therefore mobile video will soar.
2. Skyrocketing mobile video
The MViC forecast on the day that 90% of traffic on 5G will be mobile video. Dimitris Mavrakis, Research Director at ABI Research also highlighted some key 5G mobile video insights during his MVIC presentation: “5G Vision and Deployments”. Some operators are yet to fully monetize 4G and they are already looking at 5G as an enterprise vertical enabler. According to Mavrakis, 5G will initially be used to improve the consumer user experience – and surprise surprise – mobile video will spearhead this strategy.
In 2016, mobile video represented 48% of traffic and ABI Research predicts that 5G’s mobile video growth will accelerate in 2022. By 2025, video will reach 78% – and here’s the punch line: 40% will be 4K video that sucks up bandwidth.
3. Way more encryption
Remember the fanfare when 4G was launched? 4G was all about mobility and connectivity. It propelled companies like Waze, Uber and Spotify. Also, Edward Snowden happened. The shockwaves it sent encouraged many OTTs to jump at the opportunity to encrypt their data. The likes of Google and Facebook coated their data with secure protocols that prevented operators from managing the very data that travels on their own networks. Encryption is here to stay – and with 5G, it will intensify. 5G technologies will usher a new wave of mobile video data – much more diverse than 4G.
4. Way, way more data intensity
5G has far more data intensive services and already, OTTs are lining up to take advantage of immersive services such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). However, Augmented Reality can be 33x more data intensive than equivalent 480p video. And with it comes more encryption. And if that was not enough, it is expected that OTT services will have more subscribers than pay TV customers when 5G becomes widespread.
5. 4G/LTE Networks will remain for years to come
While all the focus on 5G is well deserved, our customers are quick to point out that 4G/LTE networks are not going away anytime soon as they will be critical to ensure nationwide coverage. From an investment perspective, the focus for 4G networks will shift from new build-outs to maximize the capacity of these networks. This means tools such as RAN Congestion based video optimization will be critical to help operators preserve good QoE and enhance 4G RAN capacity while investing in 5G network build out.
New opportunities with 5G
The growth in 4G democratized mobile video. Thanks to a smartphone and a decent data connection, people can watch cute cat videos almost anywhere. A number of operators treated video like any other service. They didn’t consider it important enough for preferential treatment. Of course encryption did not help the cause either for many operators. 5G can change all that.
Armed with new optimization technology, 5G provides the opportunity for more granular service prioritization and network appropriation. If operators get their ducks in a row, 5G can indeed provide the impetus for the creation of a new video ecosystem.
Nokia launches new SaaS service, AVA Charging, to help CSPs drive 5G and IoT monetization
NEW DELHI: Nokia today introduced its latest Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), AVA Charging, to help communication service providers (CSPs) and enterprises quickly commercialize new offerings for 5G and IoT use cases.
Using software consumed on demand through a subscription-based model, Nokia AVA* Charging incorporates business intelligence derived from hundreds of customer engagements to enable fast monetization of 5G and IoT services. AVA provides “Intelligence Everywhere” through AI, machine learning, no code configuration, open APIs, multi-cloud orchestration, and digital ecosystems.
Nokia AVA Charging speeds up time to market for new CSP services through automation and no-code charging configurability; is highly scalable, supporting environments in excess of 150 million subscribers; and can be used by CSP’s to monetize consumer services like cloud gaming, as well as enterprise services for vertical markets, including utilities, logistics and healthcare.
The new SaaS offering can be integrated with 5G Standalone core network functions in a multivendor environment to support new commercial charging models based on a variety of factors, including low latency, high throughput, device density, and location. It can be deployed quickly for CSPs and enterprises and avoids the hassle of on-site software maintenance and updates.
It can also be supplied as part of the Nokia / Qvantel Digital Monetization Solution as a Service, which combines Qvantel’s Flex BSS and Nokia AVA Charging. This provides a fast- track approach for CSPs to have a separate BSS stack to support new 5G opportunities and enjoy the faster time to market and agility enabled by no-code configurability.
Nokia AVA Charging is Nokia’s eighth SaaS service, following launches earlier this year that included Nokia AVA Network Data Analytics Function and Nokia AVA for Energy.
John Abraham, Principal Analyst at Analysys Mason, said: “Nokia’s timely offer of a SaaS based no-code charging solution will accelerate monetization for CSP’s who realize the need to transform their charging systems for 5G, but hesitate due to lengthy BSS transformation cycles and 5G network integration complexities.
Mark Bunn, Senior Vice President, Cloud and Network Services at Nokia, said: “This latest addition to our SaaS arsenal supports CSPs and enterprises in having a dynamic digital infrastructure through 5G network components delivered as SaaS; and provides them with the necessary pay-as-you-go, pay-as-you-grow commercial model to help them reach their desired business outcomes.”
Airtel launches Edge CDN ahead of 5G Launch
NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India’s premier digital communications solutions provider, today announced multiple new products in its cloud portfolio ahead of the 5G service launch. The new cloud offerings will fall under Edge Cloud Portfolio and will include Edge CDN. Airtel will utilise Qwilt’s Open Edge Cloud solution for deployment.
Airtel Cloud’s Edge content delivery network (CDN) accelerates web and video content delivery by using its edge network to bring content as close to users as possible. This reduces latency, costs and load on servers making it easier for enterprises to focus on app performance. This service is especially useful in OTT, Ed-Tech, Gaming and Healthcare sectors.
Airtel Cloud’s Edge CDN service is network optimised as it uses 120 edge locations, network strength and share of mobility handset to bring better customer experience to customers. Airtel is working with two of the largest OTT companies in India and others on this platform.
Speaking about Airtel Cloud’s Edge Portfolio, Mr Ajay Chitkara, Director and CEO, Airtel Business Said, said, “With 5G around the corner, businesses will leverage the low latency, high bandwidth and high device density of the 5G spectrum to solve critical problems using edge computing. Airtel has three key strengths to offer a differentiated set of cloud offerings – we have 12 large data centres and 120+ edge locations. We also have a network with comprehensive coverage across the country and to most locations across the globe. Finally, our GTM strength has direct relationships to all businesses in India small, medium or large.”
Speaking about the partnership, Mr. Alon Maor, CEO, Qwilt, said “Airtel is a tremendously exciting addition to our global ecosystem of service providers, and we are delighted to power a unique content delivery service offering in India. Our edge architecture provides a new economic model for streaming delivery, in which Airtel Cloud’s Edge CDN plays a central role in the end-to-end value chain. This announcement underscores the momentum we are gathering as we realize our ambition to build the world’s highest preforming edge delivery network.”
Airtel has been spearheading 5G throughout India. It recently became the first company to test a captive private network at the Bosch facility in Bengaluru. Airtel is also rolling out its Edge compute service to customers. This will bring 5G private network and edge computing in a single box with a view to target factories, warehouse and ports, airports who will need low latency and high bandwidth network, IOT devices to collect and computing prowess to process the data.
Airtel also announced that as we move ahead, there will be many targeted cloud solutions coming in for specific industry needs like Banking, 5G Edge, Developer and hybrid cloud requirements on an immediate basis.
Airtel to commence 5G Deployment from August 2022
NEW DELHI: Bharti Airtel, India’s premier communications solutions provider, today announced that it has signed 5G network agreements with Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung to commence 5G deployment in August 2022.
Airtel has had a long-standing relationship for connectivity and Pan-India managed services with Ericsson and Nokia while the partnership with Samsung will begin this year onwards. The 5G partnerships follow closely on the heels of spectrum auctions conducted by the Department of Telecom in India, where Airtel bid for and acquired 19867.8 MHZ spectrum in 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 3300 MHz, and 26 GHz frequency
Speaking about the agreements, Gopal Vittal, MD and CEO, Airtel said, “We are delighted to announce that Airtel will commence roll out of 5G services in August. Our network agreements are finalized and Airtel will work with the best technology partners from across the world to deliver the full benefits of 5G connectivity to our consumers. India’s transition into a digital economy will be led by telecom and 5G presents a game-changing opportunity to drive the digital transformation of industries, enterprises and the socio-economic development of India.”
Choice of multiple partners will enable Airtel to roll out 5G services spanning ultra-high-speeds, low latency and large data handling capabilities, which will enable a superior user experience and allow the pursuit of new, innovative use cases with enterprise and industry customers.
Speaking about the agreement, Börje Ekholm, President and CEO, Ericsson, said: “We look forward to supporting Bharti Airtel with its deployment of 5G in India. With Ericsson’s unrivalled, global 5G deployment experience, we will help Bharti Airtel deliver the full benefits of 5G to Indian consumers and enterprises, while seamlessly evolving the Bharti network from 4G to 5G. 5G will enable India to realize its Digital India vision and foster inclusive development of the country.”
The multi-year deal will see Nokia provide equipment from its market-leading AirScale portfolio along with solutions and services for network management, deployment, planning and optimization services to ensure the best end-user experiences.
Speaking about the partnership, Pekka Lundmark, President and CEO of Nokia said, “This landmark deal reinforces our long-standing partnership with Bharti Airtel. We are delighted that they have chosen Nokia’s best-in-class AirScale baseband and radio portfolio to deliver superior 5G performance in one of the world’s largest networks. I look forward to our continued successful long-term collaboration in this vital and dynamic market.”
Airtel will also bring in South Korean Major Samsung as a network partner to deploy #Airtel5G. This is the first time that both companies will work together.
Speaking about the partnership, Paul (Kyungwhoon) Cheun, President and Head of Networks Business at Samsung Electronics said, “5G will have a powerful impact on India’s consumers and businesses—taking mobile experiences to a new level, introducing a gamut of enhanced capabilities and expanding what is possible. As a global leader in 5G, Samsung is excited to embark on this 5G journey with Airtel to deliver innovative solutions that will help advance India’s entrepreneurial spirit and open up a new paradigm for the country.”
Over the past year, Airtel has led the industry and spearheaded 5G technology in India testing several use cases with multiple partners at many locations. From demonstrating India’s first 5G experience over a live 4G network in Hyderabad to India’s first rural 5G trial to the first cloud gaming experience on 5G to the successful deployment of India’s first captive private network on the trial spectrum, Airtel has created and nurtured a vibrant ecosystem of partners and start-ups to support faster adoption of next-generation technologies.
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