interview


Cosmote, Greece: “Innovation is starting to increase in mobile”

Konstantinos Halkiotis is principal engineer for Cosmote, the largest mobile operator in Greece.

Konstantinos Halkiotis is principal engineer for Cosmote, the largest mobile operator in Greece.

Konstantinos Halkiotis is principal engineer for Cosmote, the largest mobile operator in Greece. With the LTE World Summit 2012 coming up on the 23-24 May at the CCIB, Barcelona, Spain, we catch up with him to find out what his major concerns and challenges are ahead are ahead of the conference.

What are the main milestones you have reached with relation to your LTE deployment?

Cosmote has concluded an LTE 1800 and 2600Mhz LTE trial, and now we are at the final stage of the network design. Our target is to launch LTE services soon.

What are the main challenges you have faced, or expect to face, as you roll out LTE?

The main challenges could be divided in two parts: regular challenges and technology challenges. The regular challenges are the common roll-out difficulties, such as taking into consideration community problems, licensing issues, space and power requirements.

In the technology challenges the major issue will be to control the interference in the LTE network layer and of course the inter operability with existing mobile broadband technologies such as HSPA+. An additional challenge will be the voice service with the circuit-switched fallback features which are rather new and not tested extensively yet.

To what extent can LTE provide an insurance against declining revenue streams from voice and SMS?

Due to the global financial crisis we are facing a revenue decline in the traditional services (voice and SMS). If operators provide new data services that are affordable to the end users then the potential of new data revenue streams could be considerable.

With so much attention paid to the radio access network is there enough focus on backhaul?

I think the major problem to be solved in LTE will be the radio part and more especially the control of the interference. Backhaul solutions (like fibre-to-the-site, hybrid IP/MW) are already available, in many cases deployed along with HSPA+ networks and can easily serve the first phase of LTE deployment.

When moving towards more mature LTE networks or towards LTE-A the backhauling will be an issue, taking into account that fibre connectivity will not be available anywhere. So wireless backhauling solutions (for example usage of high bands like E band or TDD spectrum in 2,1 or 2,6 GHz for nLOS cases) should be developed.

It seems that in the future the challenge will be the availability of the spectrum due to the fact that LTE Advanced is spectrum hungry technology.

What’s your view on FDD vs TD-LTE spectrum?

I believe that FDD spectrum will dominate LTE market as happened with UMTS systems. TDD spectrum could be use as a wireless backhauling media for pico and micro layer, for later stage deployment.

Is there enough innovation occurring in the mobile network industry? Can you provide some examples?

Innovation is starting to increase in mobile network industry and I expect it to take off in the coming years with the introduction of M2M communication and mobile double and triple play offers in the market. We should not forget that all people want to communicate on the move and this has been proven with the success story of mobile communications in Europe in the last 20 years.

LTE technology, thanks to its higher throughputs and lower latency, will provide the opportunity for data services to receive a boost, by establishing a robust and capable wireless access network media to serve consumer needs. The fact that the specifications of the 3G standards have been led by the vendors, and not by the operators in the international bodies, explains the handicaps of the technology. Conversely, for LTE standards the participation of the operators is very active and I strongly believe that this will lead to many innovative ideas which will help a lot – for example interference cancellation techniques, under-layer over-layer interoperability such as the coexistence of macro with micro, or pico layer deployment.

Why are you attending the LTE World Summit and what are you looking forward to most?

The LTE World Summit is a top class conference where you can learn new things in the market and can network with operators and vendors on the latest LTE deployments. We are coming to LTE World Summit to learn from vendors about their new products, to learn from operators their latest deployments and problem solutions and of course to network with all experts that will be present.

Of course we are coming to show everyone how the Cosmote group will deal with covering extensive territories like seas and islands, by using LTE technology, while taking into consideration both coverage and capacity issues.

The LTE World Summit is taking place on the 23-24 May 2012 CCIB, Barcelona, Spain. Click here to register your http://ws.lteconference.com/interest.


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