Nokia Networks: Aji Ed's 2016 Trends

The unstoppable march of smartphone adoption will lead to massive increases in data traffic in 2016. Nokia's Aji Ed explains which technologies will help to address this issue...

Which developing or emerging markets (regions / countries) do you cover?

Nokia Networks in the MEA region has a strong presence stretching from Morocco to Pakistan and from South Africa to Iraq, and continues to increase its footprint across the region. With our advanced broadband infrastructure, software and services, we are helping telecom operators to provide world-class voice and data services. Nokia Networks is a market leader in the region, and has close partnerships with 45 biggest names including Vodafone Group, Zain Group, STC Group, Ooredoo Group, Etisalat Group and Bharti Group and many more.

What are your main hardware and/or software services focus areas?

Nokia Networks focuses on the following areas:

  • Radio networks including Single RAN (radio access network) Advanced platform based on award-winning, energy efficient Flexi Multi-radio 10 Base Station for 2G, 3G, 4G and LTE-Advanced networks, as well as small cells portfolio including the award-winning Flexi Zone.
  • Core Network including Evolved Packet Core (EPC) which is essential in migrating to next-generation mobile broadband. EPC includes Flexi NS (network server) and Flexi NG (network gateway), and IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) core products.
  • CEM (customer experience management) portfolio including CEM on Demand, Serve atOnce Device Manager, and Serve atOnce Traffica.
  • OSS (operations support systems) portfolio including NetAct, Nokia Cloud Network Director, Nokia Cloud Application Manager, Nokia Eden-NET SON.

Our services focus on professional services, network implementation, and care services.

What are the top market and customer trends that will drive change in your area 2016 and why?

Increasing smartphone adoption has led to a tremendous increase in the data traffic. This trend will continue through 2016. Operators in MEA have already started launching LTE, and LTE-Advanced networks in the last couple of years to cater to the tremendously increasing data traffic. More operators are expected to launch the ultra-fast LTE and LTE-A networks and carry out 5G tests to prepare themselves for the data deluge in this year and coming years. Nokia Networks and du at GITEX in last October carried out 10 Gbps 5G demo in the mmWave band, which was the first for the Middle East.

Public Safety: Operators have started realising the importance of Public Safety solution in MEA, and some leading operators and government agencies have already deployed the LTE for Public Safety system in the region. Nokia Networks LTE mobile broadband portfolio enhanced with selected partner products offers a full end-to-end public safety product and service portfolio.

Smart City is another trend that is gaining momentum in MEA, and to develop full-fledged smart cities, operators are expected to deploy Public Safety system as an integral part of smart city approach.

Internet of Things (IoT): GSMA estimates that there will be nearly 20 billion M2M connections needed for IoT by 2020. Developments toward 5G commercialisation is basically paving the way for IoT. As mentioned above, we have carried out a Middle-East first 5G demo in Dubai, and will be carrying out more such tests in this year across the globe towards the commercialisation of 5G.

Customer experience management: This is a crucial area gaining much more significance among operators in this year and coming years as customer experience decides customer loyalty. As per Nokia’s Acquisition and Retention Study, nearly 60% of the global subscribers are unhappy with their data services. Therefore, MEA operators are fast realising that investing in Customer Experience Management (CEM) solutions enable them to enhance quality of service, reduce churn and also boost data usage.

What are the solutions that will make the greatest impact in your area during 2016, and why?

LTE, LTE-Advanced solutions and small cells: to enhance the network capacity, throughput, speed and coverage.

CEM solutions to improve the customer experience and reduce churn and increase the revenue.

LTE Public Safety solutions to combine traditional voice communication with video and data abilities so they can move from just reacting to intelligent prediction in any disaster.

Self-Organising Networks (SON) solution to substantially bring down OPEX by adding automation and agility to the network in a multi-vendor and multi-technology network environment.

Network security solutions to provide end-to-end encryption and security for all the data transfer through networks. Nokia’s Mobile Guard solution is an excellent fit for the network security.

What changes need to be made to speed up developments and what can hold them back?

Availability of Spectrum for LTE is one of the important issues to be tackled. Similarly, availability of low cost LTE capable smartphone will be a decisive factor on LTE and LTE advanced deployments in emerging markets.

Which of the below will be the most important in emerging markets in 2016?

4G/LTE; Small Cells; IoT; Low-cost Smartphones; Indoor Coverage

Explain why your selections will be important in 2016?

Many countries in MEA have started to deploy LTE. Hence low-cost LTE capable smart phones are quite crucial for the success of LTE in emerging markets. Indoor coverage is an issue that is faced by all operators in the region. This is where Nokia can support with best-in-class Nokia Flexi Zone small cells for solving indoor coverage issues. IoT is also an important topic in many countries in MEA where Smart city initiatives have been triggered by the governments.

Aji Ed is the CTO of Middle East & Africa at Nokia Networks.

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