Trends and insights: Mr. Ericsson, LTE is often described as the turbo Internet. What does the fourth-generation mobile network have to offer?
Daniel Ericsson: LTE has a wide range of advantages, not least for the network load. One benefit is the high speed - in this respect, LTE can keep up with modern DSL and cable lines. LTE also allows users to view TV programs on their cell phones, as well as play online games with complex graphics and make use of all available cloud services. HD videos will also be available remotely sooner or later.
But doesn’t this also increase the risk for network operators that they will actually become overburdened dumb pipes which only transfer data?
For network operators, there will be no major change to their business model compared with 3G for the time being. There is also a lot of potential for them as service and security providers, for example in the NFC ecosystem. Network operators can help to establish and monetize new business models. But to go back to the example of video on-demand, if a network operator does not want to develop its own platform, it can enable access to partner video services after users subscribe. By leveraging on the SIM card as a mobile cloud identity in smartphones and tablets, the content provider can raise the security level and thereby decrease fraud and also sell and charge for higher-value services such as the latest Hollywood movies. With this service, network operators do not necessarily have to be content providers to expand their business model.
Does LTE also have an impact on other future themes, such as M2M – autonomous communication between machines – or NFC?
When the Internet of Things becomes reality, there might be billions of connected devices – something our existing telecommunications infrastructure cannot cope with. LTE provides MNOs with the capacity to manage this huge number of new connections efficiently. LTE may also add benefits by optimizing remote management of these functionalities, using HTTPS technology for over-the-air (OTA) capabilities. This means that an M2M device could use a data channel with an end-server to regularly communicate the status of specific sensors, for instance. Or an NFC SIM card would be able to receive new payment or transit applications requested by the user via rapid and reliable HTTPS OTA technology.
On the subject of speed, are there any benefits related to the velocity of LTE?
LTE has very low latency periods, so communication is – simply put – faster. This is an advantage when warning of accidents or dangers on the road, for example. With M2M, cars can warn one another about an icy patch at a bend or a broken-down vehicle over the brow of a hill, say. And, thanks to LTE, perhaps crucial milliseconds can be saved.