Monday, 25 September 2017

Mobile Internet is key to connectivity in Latin America

4G Americas
Wednesday 25 September 13

“While HSPA and LTE mobile broadband technologies are improving the economy, education, healthcare, entertainment and more in Latin America, it is important to recognize the distinct characteristics that make mobile networks unique and the many challenges faced by digital inclusion in the region to allow for internet connectivity,” stated Erasmo Rojas, 4G Americas’ Director of Latin America and the Caribbean.   4G Americas announced today the publication of Internet Access and Mobile Networks in Latin America: Technical Characteristics to Consider in Quality of Service (QoS), which explains different variables and challenges constantly faced by mobile networks and the complexity to deliver a uniform network where certain parameters such as data rates or steady internet services access may be homogenized…

“While HSPA and LTE mobile broadband technologies are improving the economy, education, healthcare, entertainment and more in Latin America, it is important to recognize the distinct characteristics that make mobile networks unique and the many challenges faced by digital inclusion in the region to allow for internet connectivity,” stated Erasmo Rojas, 4G Americas’ Director of Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

4G Americas announced today the publication of Internet Access and Mobile Networks in Latin America: Technical Characteristics to Consider in Quality of Service (QoS), which explains different variables and challenges constantly faced by mobile networks and the complexity to deliver a uniform network where certain parameters such as data rates or steady internet services access may be homogenized, all of which affect end user perception and experience. The report, available in both Spanish and English, addresses how the changes in technology, spectrum availability, environment (indoor or outdoor), cell coverage area, interference and the number of users and their voice and data usage patterns, are just some of the areas that impact the quality of experience (QoE) to the customer.

 

The Internet is a network of networks, with access providers only controlling a portion of the network elements. Consequently, end-to-end QoS of a network will depend on the quality conditions offered by all the operators involved at the different network segments versus the Internet Service Provider (ISP) only responsible for the segment in which they operate. Some elements have random behavior and may impact the operation of a mobile internet access network which cannot be controlled. This behavior includes packet loss, congestion and latency, the number of users on the coverage radius and their mobility, as well as the users’ consumption pattern.

 

Industry’s regulatory policy authorities should consider that operators face the need to ensure that their current networks have the right coverage capacity, performance and business cases to keep up with the fast growth of mobile internet, IT usage and expectations. A free and open marketplace will enable a successful network delivery platform for internet and data services.

 

The following are some of the important observations and conclusions of this paper:

 

· The benefits brought about by the Internet are numerous, such as enabling decentralization of information and data, advantages for education, commerce and entertainment which have ultimately affected society’s development. In order to carry forth this evolution, governments and regulatory bodies worldwide should facilitate appropriate deployment and timely technology adoption.

 

· Heightened regulation of mobile broadband wireless is not needed. Policy makers need to understand that mobile broadband has different technical elements. By developing appropriate regulatory and governmental policies, specifically in the Latin America region, massive access to internet and content will be enhanced even further, thus reducing the digital divide. Due to the intrinsic conditions and unique features of mobile broadband access, government regulatory QoS (Quality of Service) burdens should not be imposed on wireless operators.

 

· To fully understand the policy issues, it is necessary to distinguish between perceived quality and the quality actually delivered to the customers by introducing the various technical elements which determine the quality of network operation based on each network’s technical features. Delivery of internet access service is only possible through the interconnection of countless networks. Each portion must be controlled by different providers; therefore, the Internet should not be understood as anything else but a combination of ‘best effort’ networks.

 

· Free market economics in Latin America are currently taking place as the internet access market continues to be highly competitive. As in any competitive market, the quality of services is a differentiator and an attribute whereby consumers’ decisions force effective market competition.

 

“Given the evidence in the report, establishing a series of Quality of Service requirements could be inappropriate,” said Rojas. “Imposing QoS on network operators could result in a net damage to customers, as it would reduce the potential for technology innovation and would harm competition.”

 

Latin America currently has 99 commercial HSPA networks offering Internet connectivity in 43 countries, of which 69 networks have already been upgraded to HSPA+. In addition, as spectrum assets are becoming available to mobile operators, LTE has been deployed on 25 networks in 12 countries and this number continues to grow. There are currently an estimated 158 million mobile broadband HSPA customers in Latin America and this number is expected to grow to 584 million by the year 2018.


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