BlogVoIP BasicsSeptember 19, 2013by Rock Chi

Band Class 12 — Go Beyond Broadband

I’ve just returned from the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) annual convention held this week in Las Vegas, a great event for education and networking in this tight-knit community of independent mobile operators. We joined CCA earlier this year as we think our mission to radically transform voice aligns nicely with member needs as they deploy LTE. VoIP is a perfect complement to the CCA members deploying LTE for fixed broadband services in their markets.

According to the Competitive Carriers Association, “carrier members spent approximately $1.8 billion on 700 MHz spectrum; $1 billion on 700 MHz A Block spectrum alone.” Yet despite that sizable investment, a mature ecosystem allowing carriers to deploy LTE solutions has not yet materialized (change is coming with the announcements on 700 MHz interoperability this week, but not overnight). By ecosystem, I’m referring to the availability of affordable handsets, interoperability with tier 1 carriers (for mutually beneficial roaming), and cost-efficient IMS-based solutions for the rapid introduction of communication services. All told, many carriers holding Band-class 12 (lower A, B, and C) markets are left with a dilemma: they must beat the clock of deployment (per the FCC build mandates), but with what? They need new ways to monetize that spectrum today.

Many operators in this dilemma have chosen to use the spectrum for in-market broadband solutions; that is, fixed LTE wireless broadband. This is due to the aforementioned lack of handsets and lack of roaming (interoperability). USB dongles, ‘MiFi’ devices, indoor and outdoor home router/modems are, however, available in this band class. What has been developed is a very viable solution for rural and underserved America – high-speed broadband over fixed LTE. Wireless operators can now compete head-to-head with traditional fixed-line broadband providers or reach customers long ignored. What’s missing, however, is the voice as part of that fixed service bundle.

Broadband alone is exposed to ‘bundles’ from competitors. Adding voice to broadband service allows carriers to:

  1. Increase loyalty with service bundles (and address the demand for low-cost voice)
  2. Expand into new market segments
  3. Monetize and optimize spectrum usage

AT&T’s result from the fourth quarter of 2012 gave a view into the importance of service bundles: the company stated that “Increased AT&T U-verse penetration and a significant number of subscribers purchasing multiple services drove 17.7 % year-over-year growth in IP revenues from residential customers (broadband, U-verse TV and U-verse Voice) and 4.0 % sequential growth.”

Cloud Sourcing Voice

Carriers looking for a fast, simple, yet feature-rich solution to add voice to their fixed LTE broadband offer now have a solution with our Cloud Voice Platform. Alianza’s cloud-based VoIP solution using a SaaS model is a perfect solution for adding VoIP to an existing broadband network. By simply deploying an integrated VoIP BC12 modem (from the likes of BandRich or BEC Technologies) or standalone ATA, voice can be delivered to the customer over the public Internet. That is the heart of our newly announced Hosted Fixed VoLTE solution.

Alianza’s feature-rich voice offering has everything an operator needs to address both the residential market and the small-to-medium-business (SMB) market including hosted PBX/IP Centrex and SIP trunking.

Further, by outsourcing to the cloud mobile providers can avoid spending precious CAPEX on IMS-based networks and the headaches of 100-message (at least!) flows to establish a phone call. Instead, mobile providers can focus their CAPEX and resources in the area where they get the biggest ROI and satisfying the demand for more and faster LTE.

Our discussions at the CCA Convention indicate intense interest in this solution and the value proposition resonates with mobile operators. Until the mobile ecosystem matures for BC12, rural, regional and small mobile service providers, there is an opportunity to go beyond broadband and being a bit pipe. Mobile service providers that have deployed (or soon will be deploying) fixed LTE broadband networks should strongly consider the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of cloud-based VoIP to add profitable ARPU with customer one, on day one.