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Service Delivery Challenges
As carriers look to a new generation of value-added broadband services, however, they must re-examine the service fulfilment strategies that have served well for basic wired or wireless services. So far these services have been suitable for Web surfing, email and file downloads. For consumers, these flat-rate offerings are a step above dial-up service. For businesses, they are a cheaper alternative to private lines.
The question is, can these strategies stand the test of more dynamic service offerings that leverage much of the same access infrastructure?
The introduction of value-added, on-demand and pay-per-use services such as voice telephony, live audio, tele-networking, HiDefTV, live video, video telephony and online gaming means that exception services will become the norm. One size will no longer fit all subscribers, nor all applications all the time. With the emerging generation of broadband services, quality of service and class of service (QoS/CoS) requirements will be much more stringent and much more varied. Service changes may be frequent (e.g. to accommodate fluctuating bandwidth requirements), and in many cases services will be of limited duration (e.g. the time it takes to view a concert), while time-to-service will be critical.
Meanwhile, requirements for new network features will probably increase as service catalogues expand and technology life cycles contract. Service providers are also hoping that the number of service orders will grow as individual subscribers take advantage of multiple service offerings.
With its array of premium content and interactive applications, the new world of broadband brings with it a host of service provisioning requirements that extend beyond many carriers’ existing, static service delivery models.
WiMAX: the Solution
Relying on in-house one-size fits all pre-provisioning solutions to meet the demands of next generation broadband services and the underlying network technology is not economically feasible. To realize the potential of next generation broadband-enabled services, providers need to evolve to a more dynamic service provisioning strategy - one which enables them to take full advantage of both existing feature-rich networks and emerging network technologies; one which can speed the rollout and delivery of value-added services and keep pace with
their frequently changing service level requirements; and one which tightly contains operations costs, leveraging existing provisioning strategies.
By leveraging the efficiencies and innovative service delivery characteristics of WiMAX, providers can redefine broadband economics, building a stable profit centre based on a new generation of services.
New Operators - WiMAX is a dream technology which they should lap up.
Incumbents - all incumbent operators, must assess existing infrastructure as well as services offered, and they must deploy WiMAX to enhance their portfolio as well as the reach of the service.
Strategy for Success: Equipment Vendors
The vendor community has been divided into two not-so-evenly distributed camps. Vendors are either with or against it. WiMAX Ultimately, vendors will find it difficult to resist the commoditization of fixed wireless chipsets. They will either embrace standardization and focus their energies on value-added features and services or focus on proprietary equipment geared towards niche applications and markets.
Many operators are eager to test first-generation WiMAX equipment. However, in comparison to what the proponents of WiMAX expected, the number of operators trying the technology is quite low. Over the years, operators have been burned by BWA equipment that did not live up to expectations. This means that WiMAX Forum and its vendor members, including Intel, need to be very aggressive on pricing and promotion to convince a few bold operators to deploy pilot projects.
Price is key to persuading more operators to accept the solution. Price pressure will be intense in this market, even for first-generation products for two reasons, even though the price advantage of WiMAX is also substantial.
The first reason is that, to conquer the inertia of the first mover, the cost level needs to be more appealing and the value more compelling. The Second reason is of the vendors’ own creation. The hype created by them over the past year or so has increased the level of expectation from the technology to unrealistic levels. Vendors will have to compensate for this by more aggressive pricing.
The Business of WiMAX Deepak Pareek © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS: EQUIPMENT VENDORS
First-generation WiMAX products will be complementary to the existing networks, rather than a replacement. WiMAX vendors will be shipping interoperable base stations and CPE by the last quarter of 2005. Despite the delay, in the certification of products designed for fixed wireless links using the emerging WiMAX standards, equipment and component makers are upbeat and already turning their attention to the next generation: mobile WiMAX.