After completing the sale of its Devices and Services business to Microsoft on 25th April 2014, Nokia is reinventing its business with a three-pronged approach: Networks, HERE, and Technologies. While it’s no longer a manufacturer of mobile devices, its expertise in mobile broadband technology remains its core business proposition; a 2.7 billion Euro business as seen in its Q1 2014 interim report.
Nokia said it restructure allows the company to reposition itself as one of the world’s largest software companies, and to meet its goals as a leader in technologies for a world where everyone and everything is connected.
Nokia’s Networks business (previously known as Nokia Solutions and Networks) still serves more than 90 of the world’s 100 largest mobile operators, and is ranked second in telecommunications services and third in mobile radio. Networks has remained profitable, with 10 consecutive quarters of positive free cash flow, and is currently ranked as a ‘Leader’ for three years in a row by Gartner for LTE Network Infrastructure in 2014.
Nokia has identified 10 key global trends that it believes will shape the telecommunications industry. In Malaysia, the key trends are: New spectrum and the growth of mobile data; mixed radio technologies; network sharing and consolidation; telco cloud and virtualisation; and data analytics with cognitive networks.
The company said that operators in Malaysia are driving tremendous mobile data growth through LTE. On average, compounded growth rate of mobile data usage in Asia Pacific over a period of five years is 32 per cent, but with LTE, this could grow to more than 80 per cent, according to ABI Research March 2014 report.
Malaysia is a country with a mixed radio environment. With operators running 3G, HSUPA and LTE, Nokia said its flexible solutions will allow telcos to cater to the whole spectrum. It is also not uncommon for Malaysian operators to share their network and consolidate their operations, either through partnerships or acquisitions. For example, the recent purchase of P1 by Telekom Malaysia provides opportunities for telcos to look into at least three or four technology areas in the country. These flexible solutions let operators make full use of the spectrum in a mixed radio environment.
For network efficiency, telcos are also paying attention to the latest cloud innovations. The recent telco cloud solution provides more flexibility in the delivery of services and in exploring new business models. These are aspects that Malaysian telcos are currently evaluating, and will be a reality in the next two years. Data from these cognitive networks will also allow operators to deliver a more customised user experience and is a way to differentiate their offerings from the other operators.
Nokia recently revisited Mobile World Congress in Kuala Lumpur, and showcased its latest innovations including:
1. Telco Cloud: Telcos in the Cloud
Continuous traffic growth and unpredictable traffic patterns are challenges in maintaining a quality network experience. At the same time, the capacity to provide a great network experience and implement new services quickly is extremely important to drive revenue.
Nokia’s Telco Cloud is a solution that combines Network Functions Virtualisation and Operations Support System that help operators prepare, implement and run their own telco clouds, and migrate existing telco services to cloud-based networks.
Nokia claims that its telco cloud is considered revolutionary in the sense that operators can now manage unanticipated data growth with elastic scaling of mobile networks. This solution reduces the total cost of ownership with standardised platforms and has a high level of automation.
2. Liquid Applications: Faster Services in Real Time
Retaining profitability while delivering superior quality services has always been the two main priorities for telcos. One of the ways Nokia assists telcos with this is with Liquid Applications. It works by plugging Nokia’s Radio Applications Cloud Server (RACS) into the standard IT middleware at a base station. The server taps into the base station’s existing capabilities, and extracts real-time network insights; allowing operators to rapidly move from problem identification to precisely pinpointing the cause of service degradation.
Liquid Applications enhances the user experience through acceleration with nearby content that can be delivered faster. This improves time-to-content and cuts download time by up to 80 per cent. Nokia’s Liquid Application also collects real-time data, and allow telcos to leverage that data and insight from their own network. With the necessary information, operators can offer their customers the best context-related and location-based services.
3. Customer Experience Management: Winning with Customers
According to Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission 2013 Digital Lifestyle Malaysia report, Malaysian mobile phone penetration increased to 143.4 per cent in 2013 from 128.7 per cent in 2012. This growing customer base and its demands for quality services will require a tried and tested customer management system.
Nokia’s Customer Experience Management (CEM) Umbrella Solutions is aimed at helping operators manage their customers’ experience through a user-friendly online portal. This CEM Umbrella Solution allows operators to access and share their network information across their organisation; allowing engineers to address customer issues from consumer reports and dashboards. Whenever mobile service is affected, engineers can drill down immediately to individual customer accounts and fix the problem.
4. Voice over VoLTE: Crystal Clear Connectivity
With more mobile devices equipped with LTE capabilities, more Malaysian telcos will start offering LTE services to consumers. Despite this shift to data-centric services, 70 per cent of telco revenues still rely on existing voice and SMS services.
Nokia’s Voice over LTE (VoLTE) fulfils the vision of mobile broadband over LTE with high quality voice, video and multimedia services. VoLTE with SRVCC (Single Radio Voice Call Continuity) also provides subscribers the flexibility to roam seamlessly between LTE and 3G areas without experiencing call drops.
A full integration of existing networks with Nokia’s VoLTE solution requires no drastic changes to the mobile voice network. Full voice service continuity with faster roll-out means that operators can continue their network upgrades without any down time.
Connectivity at its Core
Nokia said its Networks business will continue to invent new capabilities valuable to telcos and be at the forefront of mobile technology. Network’s focus will continue to provide telcos with efficient solutions with the intelligence to maximise value and run seamlessly.