AT&T addressed a backhaul/convergence event in New York and made it clear that the network of the future would be shaped in large part by wireless in general and LTE in particular. A network architect speaking for the provider said that wireless data was blurring the line between core and metro and between wireline and wireless. We clearly agree, given that we’ve said this for some time.
More significantly, in our view, the talk included comments that operations complexity for metro Ethernet would have to be reduced and that the QoS mechanisms of the 3GPP were too complex and expensive to be feasible. We’ve been hearing for some time that operators believed that the ROI on mobile broadband would never reach levels that could justify some of the evolution visions of the 3GPP.
The issues are bigger than standards or IMS success. It’s a broader question of whether to scrap operations in a traditional way, given the best-effort nature of the Internet traffic that makes up most mobile broadband activity, or to streamline 3GPP processes. The operators we’ve talked to favor something more along the lines of streamlining, but they concede that it may simply take too long.