EE dreams of a networking heaven

A panel discussion featuring EE, Vodafone and Zain discussed the future of LTE networks, including monetising the network and NFV, at LTE World Summit in Amsterdam.

Yousef Abu Mutawe, CTO of Zain Jordan, highlighted operators’ struggles today. “We’ve got operators on one side competing with each other, and OTT communications providers from the other side. How can we monetise our infrastructure and push revenue growth to protect our investment?”

Speaking about pressure to meet customer expectation and grow revenue, Mansoor Hanif, director of RAN for EE said: “Every time you take a step forward in technology, customer expectation grows as well. We want to get to network heaven, where network technology gets ahead of customer expectation. LTE is fantastic, but beyond the muscle of LTE, where’s the value of it in competing against OTTs?”

“It’s all about the customer experience,” said Vodafone Netherland’s Chief Network Officer Matthias Sauder. “It’s about quality to the customer, and we’ve introduced 4G, and then used new tools such as small cells to encourage customers to use more data. We need to keep modernising our networks, and I think small cells are the optimal way of progressing towards 5G.”

“From a virtualization perspective, we’re definitely looking at retiring and phasing out legacy systems to increase efficiency,” he said, a sentiment EE’s Hanif agreed with, saying 2G and 3G networks are being targeted for retirement through the use of virtualization.

“We’ve got to step up, because we’re being measured by everyone; Netflix, Root Metrics, our customers, our competitors – everyone.” he said.

Summarising today’s operating environment for operators, Zain’s Mutawe joked. “Customers are getting much more value, but then they complain more!”

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