The demand for more connected experiences, both at home and at work, continues to grow in all geographies. This means that the Communications Service Providers (CSPs) need to rethink their strategies to provide a world-class experience in the indoor environment. As a result, CSPs are exploring different technology solutions to offer a truly differentiated customer experience.
Brazil’s Oi, the first operator in Latin America to launch FTTR, announced the Oi Fibra X strategy last year to provide high-quality connectivity solutions in the country. It is working with Huawei to provide its subscribers with a truly differentiated indoor experience.
“Our strategic goal is to make fiber our core pillar of positioning and achieve leadership in the Brazilian broadband landscape. We are already leader in most of the cities where we launched the fiber service. But, of course, we need to keep differentiating ourselves, and the FTTR [Fiber-to-the-Room] will be a key element, mainly for the higher end segment of consumers that are much more demanding in terms of quality of service,” says Rogerio Takayanagi, SVP Retail and Enterprise, CSO of Brazil Oi. He was speaking during a joint interview with Feng Zhishan, President of Huawei’s Optical Access Product Line.
He explained that houses are made of brick in Brazil, which impacts indoor penetration of Wi-Fi, thus affecting the overall quality of experience. This means that even if consumers purchase higher speeds, they don’t get the desired experience, which leads to frustration.
“When we extend the indoor coverage through the FTTR, we believe that consumers will really realize the power of the fiber. So, the value proposition of the fiber to the room or gigabit to the room is something that definitely differentiates our service and positions our brand much higher,” said Rogerio Takayanagi.
Partnering for growth
Oi launched FTTR in Blumenau, and after witnessing a massive increase in its adoption, it is now planning to roll out FTTR across the country. “Partnering with Huawei, the idea is to increase the volumes and extend the use case not only to the end consumers, the residential business, but also the small and medium enterprises. We’re seeing several use cases of people and companies that demand higher coverage and better consistency in their service,” said Rogerio Takayanagi.
With both residential premises and offices likely to become more digital and intelligent, the CSPs need to reimagine their strategy to ensure a best-in-class consumer experience.
Growing importance of FTTR
Explaining the growing relevance of FTTR, Feng Zhishan said, “First, FTTR is driven by the requirements for the digital home, which has transformed from entertainment center to multi-center of digital applications, such as online education, online office, immersive XR experiences, and whole-house intelligence. The demands for high-quality Wi-Fi networks has increased dramatically, posing higher requirements on data rate, coverage, latency, and concurrent connections.”
He further elaborated that 451 CSPs have released gigabit broadband packages, and the number of gigabit users has reached 120 million. However, substandard Wi-Fi experience is limiting the growth of broadband. This can be addressed by using the FTTR approach.
“Limited by Wi-Fi capabilities, it is easy to provide gigabit in the doorway but difficult to provide megabit in rooms. However, FTTR extends a fiber to each room, making gigabit Wi-Fi experience ubiquitous indoors,” said Feng Zhishan. It is then not surprising that CSPs are actively promoting FTTR. It has already been put into commercial use by 87 provincial operators in China and 15 operators outside China.
FTTR extends fiber to all terminals at home or office and helps operators go from FTTH to FTTR, thus increasing user loyalty and ARPU while building a high-end brand. In line with Huawei’s approach of working with telcos for cooperation and innovation, it has worked with CSPs to launch the world’s first-generation FTTR for Home solution in 2020 and developed three generations of FTTR products.
Commenting on the advantages offered by FTTR, Feng Zhishan said, “First, it provides over 1000 Mbps Wi-Fi to each room in a house. Second, supports up to 17 information points to eliminate coverage blind spots. Third, ensures smooth Wi-Fi experience without frame freezing using imperceptible roaming when users move around the house. Fourth, supports intelligent management, and enables operators to remotely identify problems and optimize Wi-Fi performance, reducing home visits and quickly rectifying problems.”
Industry collaboration must to provide high-quality experience
As the demand for superior connectivity continues to grow, Huawei will work closely with global customers and industry partners to achieve high-quality development of the gigabit all-optical home industry. On the other hand, Huawei and Oi will collaborate to carry out technological innovation and cooperative research in the FTTR field, overcome indoor Wi-Fi coverage difficulties, and provide premium FTTR networks to users by building FTTR joint showcases, benchmark customer service centres, and joint marketing activities.
“We can also cooperate in win-win business models to make fibers a standard communication media for residential and commercial buildings,” said Zhishan.
Zhishan emphasized the importance of the industry to collaborate to improve the Wi-Fi experience. “In the pre-decoration field, we need to cooperate with the home decoration and real estate industries to promote the implementation of cabling standards, and work with operators to streamline NCE+app and interconnect with the OSS/BSS domain to build up service capabilities in planning, construction, acceptance, maintenance, and optimization that can be committed, sold, and monetized. In addition, operators need to offer proper packages, standardize fiber routing specifications as well as acceptance and O&M experience, provide installation incentives, and train marketing personnel on how to promote FTTR. Further, FTTR can help the CSPs in making a mark in the smart home field. The operators can build an integrated smart home solution and ecosystem.”
Huawei is looking forward to working with operators to explore more smart home services based on FTTR, such as smart home guarding, home TV, and service acceleration, to help operators achieve greater growth in home DICT services and shift from bandwidth monetization to experience monetization.