What Mobile Network Operators Need to Know about VoLTE, Cloud and 5G

Mitel recently participated in 5G Asia, a future-focused event that explores the latest innovations in LTE and 5G. Below, Ian Pattison, International CTO of our Mobile Division, shares his thoughts on how VoLTE, Cloud and 5G are changing the game for mobile carriers.

Can you share some of the key learnings from the panel discussion you joined today?

VoLTE is now a mature and proven technology, and there have been both successful and less than successful deployments. What we came across in the panel sessions was that the key to the successful deployments is the user experience. Giving users a vastly improved user experience in terms of voice codecs, but not removing any of the services that they’re used to, like ringback tones, prepay—these are the key things, as well as introducing new services based on VoLTE as a platform, such as VoWiFi.

What’s so special about VoLTE, and what does the future hold for Mitel?

VoLTE is the catalyst to moving to an all IP, all IMS-based core network, which fundamentally means this is the first time that a mobile network operator’s servers for voice have been independent of the user agent (the device) and the access network. This means that VoLTE is an enabler for the next generation of services—not just voice calling. They enable the operator to make the move to things like contextualized communications, multi-device support, support for SIMless devices and new paradigms enabled by WebRTC and other technologies.

What is Mitel’s story about the cloud?

The move to the cloud is actually a two-step process: the first is virtualization, and the second is the “cloudification” of the applications. It’s really the latter that enables NFV; it’s where you re-architect the products to fully exploit and realize the benefits that NFV would provide. Virtualized deployments have been around for a number of years now. We have commercial deployments of VoLTE that are virtualized. The next stage is NFV, cloudification and fully automated networks.

What is Mitel’s approach to developing 5G technologies?

5G is more than just another “G.” It’s actually a new type of network: dynamic, automated, supporting the shift from communication between people to communication between things. This actually means a new way of architecting your network based on NFV technology and, more significantly, microservices. Mitel is at the leading edge of microservices architecture and exposing the network via open APIs.

What will be the most significant development in the industry over the next three years?

In the next three years, the biggest change in networks will be the move to a DevOps model. This will be a paradigm shift for the way operators build and operate their networks. It will have to be matched by the vendors. This is all in support of continuous development and continuous innovation within the networks.

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