IEEE PIMRC, one of the most well-known conference for wireless researchers is held in London on 8th-11th September 2013. The inauguration of this year’s PIMRC was with a keynote speech by Stephen Pusey, CTO of Vodafone.
Stephen talked about trends in network services and challenges for future from Vodafone perspective. I found his speech very nice. He addressed challenges the service providers (such as Vodafone) face in a clear and well-organized manner. No surprise in contents, but I felt it was like a good summary of keynote speeches that have been delivered in conferences during the last few years.
Let’s briefly recap his talk. He mentioned four major trends in network services
- Video gets more and more important. Quoting him, “We are in video distribution service”
- Operators face network reconfiguration virtually everyday to cope with increasing capacity demand. They need flexible architecture with SON capability.
- Internet of Things. Number of connected devices are increasing sharply.
- Personalized Mobile Internet is one of keys for future.
From the trends, it is not difficult to expect that the network of future will be hierarchical (small and macro cells), heterogeneous (multi-RAT), and distributed.
So far, the story goes as usual, although well organized. What I found particularly interesting was his answers to some questions. When he was asked about the traits of 5G that he would like to have, his answer was “Voice.” It’s because people have zero tolerance to dropped voice call, and people make voice calls a lot. In his opinion, it is much more frustrating not to have voice coverage in mountains or lakesides rather than not getting high speed inbuilding data. He pointed out researchers tend to forget the importance of voice when they think about “capacity crunch.” On top, he added that he would prefer consistent user experience, e.g. 3 Mbps everywhere.
Truly, it’s an interesting point of view, whether or not you agree with. From my personal view, better voice coverage and more persistent user experience would be a strong competitive edge to the operators, only if it could come without dramatic cost.