Executive director, Networks and Access Technologies, Telstra: “To make mobile technology accessible to more people we need scale”

Mike Wright, executive director, Networks and Access Technologies for Telstra is speaking on day one of the Broadband Asia conference, taking place on the 9-10 April 2013 at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong. Ahead of the show we find out more about the opportunities cloud presents to carriers and the exciting developments Wright expects to see in 2013.

What have been the major developments for you over the past years in terms of LTE deployment and fixed-line services?

Clearly the rapid emergence of LTE capable devices and the way this has quickly become the prime growth engine for wireless data traffic in markets like Korea and even Australia.

The industry seems to have taken up your call for LTE1800 to become a common band round the world. Was this satisfying to see?

Yes very satisfying. To make mobile technology accessible to more people we need scale and to economically deliver more capacity we need to exploit new technologies like LTE.

By exploiting the LTE1800 band we’ve been able to achieve elements of both and we’ve seen the world move to LTE more quickly than we might have otherwise seen if we had waited for new spectrum bands. LTE1800 now represents over 40 per cent of the worldwide LTE deployments, leading to more universal roaming and device scale.

The Broadband Asia conference is taking place on the 9th-10th April 2013 at the Kowloon Shangri-La Hotel, Hong Kong. Click here to find out more about the event

As next-gen wireless services develop with there be a need for fixed-line services in five years’ time?

Fixed networks continue to carry the majority of network traffic by far and where fixed infrastructure exists high volumes of traffic can be carried at a much lower cost. As we see more use for fixed networks for media and content on big screens there will be an increasing role for fixed services. Wireless will compliment this as people take their lives on the road and consume media on smaller screens.

What opportunities do the new cloud services provide for operators?

There are a wide range of opportunities in delivering utility or dedicated cloud environments, software as a service, and unified communications solutions. These all deliver efficiencies to businesses and remove from them the complexity of managing, investing and operating these platforms. Cloud services from operators also enable businesses to move off legacy communications and IT platforms to newer technology.

Why should businesses look to operators to deliver their cloud services over pure cloud players?

As cloud services increase in their range of applications we will see increasing demands for end-to-end solutions for corporate data needs, such as backup and disaster recovery, and for cloud-based applications to be used by mobile or distant fixed end points. This will require more sophisticated network intelligence and traffic management to ensure low latency, specific bandwidth applications can be delivered efficiently and effectively. Operators can offer unique end-to-end network treatment of traffic that can optimise these applications or even host some of these workloads in the network closer to the edge where latency is important.

How important is wifi offload to your rollout plans?

We see a wide range of roles for wifi starting in the home. However, we do not see wifi offload as a key priority at this stage. We will focus on managed spectrum and small cell solutions as our prime traffic management and offload technique as our macro cells and spectrum grow in traffic.

With networks where there are a mix of technologies in play, are HetNet technologies the answer and how best can they be exploited?

The first priority for use is to fully exploit our existing macros cell network infrastructure to deliver capacity and efficiency. We will do this through new, more efficient technologies like LTE and re-farming of spectrum like 900 and 1800MHz as well as new functionality such as MIMO. Beyond this we will rely on small cells and HetNets combined with emerging technology standards like CoMP to integrate the Hetnet layer into the macro cellular network.

What is the most exciting development you expect to see in broadband over the next 12 months?

For wireless this might be the next generation of carrier aggregation that will see up to 40MHz of spectrum aggregated or the emergence of LTE Broadcast as a mainstream standard. For fixed it will be interesting to see the real world emergence of VDSL Vectoring and Bonding in markets where they will continue to rely on copper.

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