Will Sprint become the CSP that breaks up the competitive duopoly of AT&T and Verizon in the US wireless market?

Tele2 claims “first to VoLTE” in Europe

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) technology improves voice quality significantly and enables much faster call-setup times, but it’s been a tough nut to crack. There have been many false starts around the world, and to date, only two wireless service providers offer it. Last month Tele2 in Sweden announced it’s ahead of the pack in Europe and has successfully trialed VoLTE on its live 4G network. The tests have been conducted in a fully end-to-end, standards-compliant manner using technology from Mavenir Systems and Nokia Siemens Networks implemented in Sweden’s live LTE network. Mavenir was also instrumental in bringing VoLTE online for MetroPCS in the US.

Joachim Horn, Tele2’s chief technology and information officer, commented, “We have consciously built in support for VoLTE in the 4G network, covering almost the entire population of Sweden. The tests we have conducted have shown tremendous results in a multi-vendor environment. From a technical standpoint we could be ready to launch commercially within a year.”

In almost every instance the LTE networks of today are used for data traffic, while voice traffic is still handled in the 2G and 3G networks. By moving and converting the latter to LTE data, the opportunities for a superior, seamless user experience of voice integrated in new LTE services and applications are increasing. Horn added, “Not only does VoLTE enable superior voice and data experience simultaneously for our customers, but the technology is also more cost-efficient.”

Successful trials and successful commercial deployments are two different things, however. It’s not quite true to claim “first to VoLTE” until there are working 4G LTE devices in the hands of customers that actually deliver VoLTE.

Predictions for 2013

The end of the year ushered in predictions of what lies ahead from many analysts, vendors and even CSPs. Analysys Mason anticipates that LTE will have a limited impact on the global wireless space, traditional TV will come under greater pressure from new alternatives, and service-provider Wi-Fi will be a big story in 2013. Forrester Research believes software-defined networking (SDN) will take a front seat this year, driving a greater need for network software engineers. Several analysts predict that mobile payments and NFC (near field communication) will continue to sit cold on the wireless buffet table, and that the mobile world will continue to be dominated by just two operating systems, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android, even though Microsoft is spending buku bucks to be in the big leagues with Windows Mobile 8.

Headlines warning of aggressive cyber warfare grab eyeballs, but Verizon thinks security threats in 2013 will fly low and slow. “Many security experts are using anecdote and opinion for their predictions, whereas Verizon’s researchers are applying empirical evidence to help enterprises focus on what will be truly important in the coming year — and also what isn’t,” said Wade Baker, lead author of the company’s 2012 Data Breach Investigations Report. “First and foremost, we don’t believe there will be an all-out cyber war, although it’s possible. Rather, an enterprise’s 2013 data breach is much more likely to result from low-and-slow attacks.”


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