Rural Carriers pushing for LTE

Although the rave and hype for the 5G will continue to be a topic of discussion for a long time within the telecommunication field, it will take many years for the next cellular generation to make its way out of the urban areas to offer general access to new kinds of internet services.

For the rural carriers serving small markets within the United States, the topic of 5G is the least of their focus. They have more pressing issues that require immediate attention, such as upgrading their equipment to offer LTE services to the customers. Data and Voice over LTE services have the advantages to offer better quality experience to end users while improving network operations.

It is essential to point out that the IMS/VoLTE topic will be a major focus of discussion at the upcoming Competitive Carrier Association Annual Convention which will be taking place on the 1st to 3rd of October, 2018 in Orlando, Florida. This discussion will feature speakers from Nokia, Ericsson, Interop Technologies, and Huawei.

This topic is only one session among the different programs that have been lined up for the event. Steve Berry, the President and CEO of CCA elaborated that the rural carriers are set to create and implement the strategy around IMS/VoLTE, especially because of the scheduled deactivation of 3G network by Tier 1 operators in early 2020s and its implication for OEMs devices. This strategy will be a strong part of the discussion during the upcoming convention.

Berry went further to emphasize that the high points of the process is the cost implication as well as the ability to make smart and fast decisions for the transitioning. According to him, smaller carriers require purchasing an IMS core. Carriers wont roll out 4G LTE and also maintain a backup 3G network, which means that if the small carriers want to have roaming relationship with the capacity to receive and function with new customers in their market, they need to have what is compatible with the specific devices that the new customers will be carrying. Steve Berry went on to emphasize the importance of strategic approach to the VoLTE investments with focus on long-term shift to the 5G in the best way possible.

Carriers will have tough decisions to make regarding the specific IMS core they chose as well as how they develop their network. Although it is possible for the carriers to build their RAN in order to reduce the prospect of having to engage in continual upgrades, it means buying LTE equipment in a more recent LTE revision build that is focused more on software upgrades then hardware.

However, the question is whether the request for 5G kind of services within the rural areas of America can generate the type of return that is required to substantiate the investment made by these rural carriers. Berry’s explanation about this is that although the same capacity crunch that is driving metro investment is not really a primary issue within the rural areas, there is still the need for IoT type of services in these areas, which is majorly a 5G use case.

Undoubtedly, 5G will become an integral need for rural America but it will be a while before an actual 5G network will be implemented all over these areas. Current generation LTE, with the upcoming features and upgrades coming down the pipe, set a stage where 5G equipment may not be needed for many years to come.

Gilbert A Darrell is the Founder of Horizon. He has 18 years experience in information technology and telecom solutions, a veteran in Fire and EMS Services, a crypto enthusiast and a member of the Bermuda Government’s Cryptocurrency Task Force.

Horizon Communications is an upcoming fixed wireless internet and cellular service provider looking to provide services in Bermuda, the Caribbean, and Central America before expanding internationally. While utilizing 4th generation and soon 5th generation wireless technology,it will also heavily incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency technology.

More information can be found on their website —