I’d like to share a few observations while on my way home from Informa’s LTE World Summit that just concluded in Barcelona. There was a wider range of operators attending the two day event than I expected. From our customers, I know that top tier carriers in North America are rolling out LTE, some in the Far East and others in Europe. But during the show it became clear to me that in every  part of the world operators are in some planning stage towards their LTE deployment.

From every continent and then some, operators are thinking about an LTE strategy. And the ones already in the more advanced stages are approaching experienced core network infrastructure vendors such as F5 Traffix to enable them to provide advanced services in this increasingly competitive market. With smart phones already a mass market commodity, the range and quality of services are utmost in their minds. Unfortunately, there was much premature hype about LTE leading people to believe that it is a simple, fast roll out.

And that has proven to be exactly the opposite. As LTE is more of an evolution and not a revolution, most operators will experience pains in LTE deployment. The questions remain as to what extent and when these pains will happen, and most importantly how much will it cost them. Will it result in significant churn or can the churn be abated with the lure of attractive services like family data plans, and selected real time prepaid options like optimized video upon demand for postpaid subscribers?

There are many questions that revolve around the dozens of unprecedented cases that will be analyzed and planned by the industry’s best network architects and engineers. One thing is for sure, that a special focus day on signaling like the one that preceded the LTE Summit this year attracting close to 200 people to sit and listen to Diameter experts, would not have happened last year. We were overwhelmed by the positive responses we received following F5 Traffix Diameter experts Ben Volkow and Peter Nas’ presentations on “Approaching Diameter as the Nervous System of the Network” and “Diameter Use Cases for the Signaling Explosion”.

The word on Diameter solutions’ ability to solve or rather to enable all the promises of better and faster service in LTE is out there. Today mentioning signaling to industry analysts covering mobile broadband usually triggers a serious conversation. Even journalists without a technical background approach F5 Traffix to write on the topic of the signaling surge in LTE. We can’t take these facts for granted as they were NOT happening last year. So yes, things are changing, and definitely for the better.