Tore Kristoffersen is the CTO of Altibox, an internet, IPTV and VoIP service delivered over FTTH in Norway and Denmark. Kristoffersen is speaking at the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. Ahead of the conference we speak to him about where LTE fits into this fibre provider’s strategy.
Altibox is an FTTH provider. How does LTE fit into your strategy?
Altibox is not planning on deploying an LTE network but we focus on the combination of wifi and LTE and a state-of-the-art FTTH network to provide a unique customer experience. LTE is provided in cooperation with one of the mobile providers in Norway, where Altibox takes a ‘Service Provider’ role. The FTTH network has evolved since 2002 and is now reaching out to approximately 250,000 subs, providing excellent customer point-to-point capacity and backhaul capacity.
Where do you stand on the issue of OTT players contributing to the costs of deploying networks?
In general the internet will always serve as a marked place for applications. The network provider can never replace the marked place all by himself, but can take part of it. The marked place generates willingness to pay for network capacity. There is also a possibility for the network provider to bundle or in other ways differentiate the service offering. Altibox believe in a customer strategy providing high capacity network services, and at the same time rich IP based applications to meet the customer expectations. I strongly believe that a future telecom player needs to stay close to the customer expectations, providing rich competitive content, applications and connectivity “where and when” the customer wants it. This will provide a healthy sustainable business relationship. From an LTE network point of view, one can see Altibox act as an OTT. Nevertheless, we will also be related to the LTE network provider as a service provider, generating revenue for both parties.
To what extent can LTE provide an insurance against declining revenue streams from voice and SMS?
By providing sufficient cost effective bandwidth for data, it will follow the customer over to richer media solutions. The world is going IP, and LTE is probably not an insurance by itself.
Is there a place moving forward for unlimited data tariffs? Are they sustainable?
An LTE provider will probably experience challenges providing unlimited data tariffs. The cost of providing enough bandwidth via LTE, combined with lower ARPU from voice (compared to 3G), will put strains on the business case. One should consider more low cost-high capacity solutions in combination, e.g. wifi.
Do you think that VoLTE will have an impact and if so in what time frame?
VoLTE is basically most interesting to LTE network providers. Some would like “VoFTTH or VoWifi” solutions. The customers on the other hand will probably expect their id (phone number, enum) to be reachable over multiple physical networks.
What changes would you hope to see in the industry in the next five years?
I would hope that everybody sees the great opportunities that IP technology can bring via service offerings to the customers. I also hope that the telecom marked place will find a fair principal when it comes to building the ARPU that is necessary in order to bring sufficient revenues into the companies willing to build modern network capacity. The marked place will probably change, and new revenue streams will occur but the companies able to adapt to the new rules, and stay close to the customer will most likely win.