Up to the Challenge? Mobile Operators Look for New Business
The mobile phone industry has been mature for some time. Around the world, most people who want and are able to use a cellular handset already have one—sometimes more than one. Even with innovations such as HSPA+, LTE and LTE-A becoming mainstream, average revenue per user (ARPU) continues to decline. Mobile operators may be at the crossroads. They are certainly at an inflection point. How to counter the trend is what operators must decide.
Having virtually supplanted the residential phone market with feature phones and then smartphones, it’s only natural mobile operators would seek to access additional service businesses of their landline brethren. Those opportunities lie in the business enterprise. While this phenomenon could occur anywhere, the mobile operators in the developing world have a unique position to exploit. As there never existed any meaningful fixed telephony operations in much of Africa and large parts of Asia and Latin America, mobile operators have this enterprise telecom services opportunity to themselves for now.
The mobile operators already have the basic network infrastructure in place with their base stations and microwave backhaul aggregating traffic to their telecom core. All that is needed is a method for provisioning higher layer services such as VPNs and next-generation fixed wireless broadband to corporate facilities.
Traditionally, provisioning such services to enterprise sites required costly IP routers. The expense for this class of capital equipment and the complexity of configuring it to work with wireless access and microwave backhaul traffic raises the total cost of ownership of it to a prohibitive level. Margins are considerably thinner in the developing world for mobile operators and the value proposition just isn’t there for regular routers at the cell site. Fortunately, help is on the way for telecom operators to evolve their infrastructure toward next-generation mobile broadband and enterprise services in the form of the microwave router of which Aviat’s CTR 8540 is the first and to date only example.
Aviat Networks senior vice president and chief marketing officer Shaun McFall examines this business opportunity for mobile operators more in depth in the RCR Wireless article “Backhauling the Enterprise Opportunity.”
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