interview


Telefonica Ecuador: “Innovation in the telecommunications business is vital for users”

Rafael Amores is senior network development engineer for Telefonica Ecuador

Rafael Amores is senior network development engineer for Telefonica Ecuador and is appearing at the LTE Latin America 2012 conference, taking place the 17-18 April 2012 at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, where he will be speaking on the topic of how LTE can benefit from economies of scale. Ahead of the conference Telecoms.com speaks to him on the current state of play of LTE in Ecuador.

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

Telefonica Ecuador has not deployed LTE yet. We are studying this technological evolution for which we depend on the availability of spectrum in our country. Within the group, Telefónica has deployed LTE in Germany through its O2 operation and it has also been testing in Argentina, the UK, Brazil and Peru.

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

For our LTE deployment in Ecuador there is no definite date, but we hope to activate this new technology in the low 700MHz or AWS band bands, and this is currently being reviewed by the state regulator. The main objectives are to offer excellent interior and exterior coverage and superior data rates, depending on the type of modulation and MIMO used. Which one will ultimately lead to investment at the moment has not been defined.

Telefonica Corporation has a great advantage with the RAN equipment suppliers in the market so the economies of scale can be handled better than other operators.

Is there a place moving forward for unlimited data tariffs? Are they sustainable?

The goal of LTE is to reduce the costs of the data service for operators. Nevertheless, the issue of a flat rate without restricted data can cause serious problems on the network, so it is advisable to have in place plans that are designed to control usage and to provide a degree of competitiveness in the market.

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

Indeed, while the access network is vital for LTE it must have enough backhaul bandwidth to achieve the best delivery rates on each node. That will be achieved through optical fibre and full IP.

What’s your view on FDD vs TD-LTE spectrum?

The use of TDD or FDD often depends on spectrum availability in each country. My personal preference is to use FDD spectrum, as it perform the transmission and reception in two different bandwidths and so does not register a service impact. With TDD, transmission and reception of RF are performed at different times on the same bandwidth. This channelization has an impact on coverage and requires guard bands to avoid intermodulation.

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

It is estimated that the issue will be resolved VoLTE between 2013 and 2014 but in the mean time there are LTE voice solutions available right now from handset manufacturers such as LG, Nokia, HTC and Motorola.

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

Innovation in the telecommunications business is vital for users. Examples are video calling, online shopping, PTT (Push To Talk), video streaming, online gaming, and these are all applications that can be handled through the cellular network.

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

I think in areas of high concentration the solution to heavy downloading traffic on the mobile nodes will be provided by wifi networks. There will also be distributed systems indoor handled by small cells such as femtos and pico cells.

Why are you attending the LTE Latin America summit and what are you looking forward to most?

The expectation is high for a forum in which diverse views are presented of the situation facing their country. It will indeed be a very rewarding event and there will be many topics that will be covered in a very professional manner. All participants will learn the benefits and restrictions that may occur when you venture into a new technology. Specifically, how this success will depend on the frequency and bandwidth used, which is dependent on each country’s regulatory body.

The LTE Latin America 2012 is taking place on the 17-18 April 2012 at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil. Click here to register your interest.


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