Network performance is the most important criteria considered when purchasing broadband services. Coverage and capacity have traditionally been the main factors for measuring this performance, but now this is not enough. New requirements for Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), premium data and video over mobile broadband are also becoming vital network design criteria.
Good network coverage and capacity are achieved with multiple technologies, for example 3G for national mobile broadband coverage, 4G in urban areas, and Wi-Fi in hotspots. This will become more complex in the future, where 3G and 4G in multiple spectrum bands will be combined with Wi-Fi to enhance the user experience. This has great potential for success.
The 4G networks are the first generation of mobile networks not relying on circuit-switched voice for the basic communication service. VoLTE has rapidly become the target technology for voice over 4G, and for the evolution into multimedia communication services. The performance expectations for VoLTE are defined by 2G/3G voice, and require traffic prioritization to work in fully loaded networks.
Best effort data services, with service restriction as the primary differentiation method, will not be sufficient. Mobile data services aimed at professional users are quickly becoming an attractive proposition for boosting revenue. Prioritization of premium data services, with similar mechanisms applied to 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi, has the potential to gain acceptance as the second data standard.
So while coverage and capacity will remain critical when it comes to purchasing broadband services, the increased performance requirements represent a new challenge for the industry. I expect over the next three years, we will see a holistic approach emerge, which will be solutions with multiple network technologies working together.