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Why has VoLGA not been endorsed by Orange/FT? Orange is one of the few operators to have successful rollout of WiFi UMA/GAN based service.


This presentation by Orange/FT only lists IMS and CSFB (interim) on page 13.

It’s a fair question. However, I think the underlying question is around ‘other operator support’ of VoLGA. Today T-Mobile has been the only public supporter, where is everyone else?

There is actually quite a bit of private support for VoLGA, but more on that later…

Let me offer two perspectives:

1. If VoLGA is so great, why aren’t operators publically supporting it?.

The short answer is that there is no need too. If you’re an operator who wants to see VoLGA get published, it will get published with or without your name/logo on the web site. You’ll get what you want without having to sign up for anything. It’s assumed that the VoLGA Forum will publish its Stage 3 specifications in Q3 09, so the project is almost complete.

2. If CSFB is so bad, why are operators (like Orange) supporting it?

This gets tricky, and honestly calls for speculation on my part. I don’t speak for Orange and I can’t tell you exactly why they are supporting CSFB. But I think we can apply some logic and see where things go.

First, it’s ironic that long-time IMS stalwarts like Orange (and others) are being forced to show support for an interim step before the ‘inevitable’ IMS telephony deployment. I’m guessing they must hedge their bets because there is still a lot of risk to IMS telephony.

So Orange is going LTE, and Orange knows they need telephony. They publicly state their position is CSFB and then IMS. Let’s run some scenarios:

- IMS magically appears at the time they need it. Great. They don’t buy the MSC upgrades required to support CSFB and move directly to IMS. This is unlikely, but I suppose anything could happen.
- IMS telephony continues to be delayed, and Orange needs an interim solution. Their options are: CSFB, and now just within the last 3 months, VoLGA.
- Orange needs to make sure that there is a viable option for voice, so they can:
o Publicly support CSFB. In doing so, they are putting pressure on their MSC vendors to support this feature in a future release of the MSC software. Because MSC software release cycles are very long, support for a feature like CSFB needs to be solidified today to support deployments in 2011.
o Not publicly support CSFB. By not supporting CSFB, Orange is telling their MSC vendors it’s not important. With no support, the CSFB doesn’t get implements. In 2011, Orange would have no voice solution for LTE.
o Publically support VoLGA. As mentioned above, they don’t need too…yet. The spec will come whether they make a public statement or not. But for a company like Orange to publically support VoLGA, they are effectively discounting their CSFB position. No MSC vendor wants to implement CSFB if no one is going to pay for the feature.

As I said, this is my speculation, but any public comment on anything other than CSFB doesn’t help their situation.

What do you think?


T-Mobile Venture Fund investment in Kineto is perhaps a strong indicator of T-Mobile's full backing for UMA/GAN technology pioneer Kineto.

I would still hope to see public support for VoLGA by atleast a few other operators. Lack of public support for VoLGA will inhibit vendors from investing.

I suggest that Kineto and T-Mobile the following:

1. With logical arguments, ensure that there is public and visible support from few other operators, rather than just pushing through the specification work.

2. LTE is still very far away. HSPA+ is a more realistic option. Currently there is a feature of CS Voice over HSPA+ defined in 3GPP. How about also pressing a case for GAN for Voice over HSPA+?

I have to laugh a bit… if anyone thinks that the Solution Architects at T-Mobile in Germany went to the T-Ventures website to find a company that would solve a fundamental issue in LTE then I have some swampland in Florida that I would be happy to sell you…

As for operator support, perhaps I was a bit too pessimistic. There is a lot of support in the industry. The public support will come, just not today. The industry really doesn’t understand how bad CS Fallback is yet.

As for CSoHSPA+, yes technically VoLGA can support that deployment as well. But what’s the advantage for the operator? HSPA already has a perfectly good, highly efficient circuit channel for voice.

But remember, VoLGA isn’t a solution looking for a problem.

The problem is landing in the LTE/mobile industry with a thud.

Existing voice and SMS services weren’t baked into LTE. If IMS were ready (from a technical or business case perspective), we wouldn’t be having this conversation. If CS Fallback wasn’t so abysmal, there would be no VoLGA Forum.

Without a viable voice and SMS solution, LTE dongles are blocked, LTE netbooks are blocked, LTE handsets are blocked,… LTE is blocked.

There are some massive companies with enormous bets on LTE infrastructure. If anyone wants to slow-roll LTE, a great idea would be to require operator to completely upgrade their MSC network with a CSFallback feature simply to pass SMS messages to data-only dongles. How many years will that take?

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