CTO, Deutsche Telekom: “There can never be enough innovation”

Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, CTO of Deutsche Telekom

Bruno Jacobfeuerborn, is the CTO of Deutsche Telekom, Germany, one of the largest operators in Europe. Jacobfeuerborn is delivering a keynote on Day One of the LTE World Summit 2012 taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. Ahead of the conference, Jacobfeuerborn presents his take  on where the operators stand with regard to LTE.

What are the main milestones you have reached with relation to your LTE deployment?

In summer 2010 we put the first LTE site on air in Kyritz. This was the first “white spot” we closed via the digital dividend and overall we have closed over 2000 “white spots”. Another milestone was reached when we started the deployment of high-speed LTE cities with the commercial launch in Cologne on July 1, 2011. In February 2012, Frankfurt followed as the second city and the rollout will be continued end of April with Hamburg, Munich, Bonn and Leipzig.

What are the main challenges you have faced, or expect to face, as you roll out LTE?

In Germany we have an obligation for rollout in rural areas in advance of the cities. Due to this, we started the project Common Broadband Access (CBA) for the technical introduction of digital dividend in April 2010. In the spectrum auction in May, we purchased the equivalent frequencies and launched the LTE site in Kyritz only three months later. This was a huge challenge we had to cope with, but we succeeded.

Can a network realistically cope with unlimited data tariffs?

From customer surveys we have done in the industry we know that a customer’s perceived experience and expectations are critically depending on the price that the customer pays. By better managing quality on a customer basis (i.e., Customer Experience Management) and data traffic across mobile and fixed, it is possible to allow unlimited data tariffs (i.e., based on unlimited volume). If you can manage the network load and investments then you can fulfil the customer expectations and ensure the customer the best experience possible.

With so much attention paid to the radio access network is there enough focus on backhaul?

Deutsche Telekom always aligns the investment in the mobile radio infrastructure (3G and LTE) with the investment in the mobile access backhaul network. In Germany, for example, we have a healthy mixture between fibre and micro wave.

Some operators have said that TD-LTE spectrum is more efficient? Why is there not more attention being paid to it?

In Europe most of the spectrum available for mobile services is paired spectrum. Therefore, the mainstream technologies which have become applied are FDD based like LTE-FDD, UMTS-WCDMA or GSM, with significant advantages for the operators with respect to economy of scale for systems and terminals in these bands.

Do you think that VoLTE will have an impact and if so in what time frame?

As we provide HD Voice, we do not have to push VoLTE very hard. Of course, DTAG is fully in line with the common industry view that VoLTE is the preferred long term solution to deliver operator-provided voice services on All-IP networks. As with every new technology, VoLTE will start small and grow over time. Due to the fact that VoLTE can and will be closely integrated with existing 2G/3G mobile voice services, the introduction will happen very smoothly.

Is there enough innovation occurring in the mobile network industry? Can you provide some examples?

There can never be enough innovation. It is our lifeblood. This said, we have made incredible progress with LTE, ensuring the sustainability of our future as a mobile business. Multi-mode software definable radio systems enable our industry to achieve a new level of economical and technological efficiency that is unparalleled. We have rethought mobile network designs (e.g. small cell topologies) in light of mobile data tsunami and spectrum crunch and have shown new and substantially better ways to provide capacity and quality to our customers, thereby safeguarding their experience. IP Transformation, mobile-fixed convergence, cloud and virtualization concepts are being actively pursued at an aggressive pace in ways that were not considered just 24 month ago in our industry.

Will LTE Advanced make a major difference and when would you expect it to be rolled out?

LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) is the next logical and necessary step in mobile evolution and further technology evolution of LTE. There will be no rollout of new networks and the LTE-A features will be implemented gradually into the LTE networks in the coming years.

What changes would you hope to see in the industry in the next five years?

In order to decrease the network utilisation caused by the proliferation of smartphones, a closer cooperation with app developers is more important than ever. To strengthen this relationship Deutsche Telekom has already launched developer guidelines and also organized an App Developer Day recently.

Why are you attending the LTE World Summit and what are you looking forward to most?

The LTE World Summit offers me the best opportunity to meet many colleagues and companies from the industry in a very short time frame. As we all are facing the same challenges as e.g. massive data growth vs. declining revenues I am very interested to see other strategies to deal with it.

The LTE World Summit is taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. Click here to register your

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