During the last edition of the Nextv Series Colombia event, the leading conference that took place last June 27th at the JW Marriott Hotel in Bogota, Monia Gomes, Head of Business Development Latam at WeTek, Efrain Martinez, CTO at ETB Colombia, Camilo Moreno, Engineering Director at Conexion Digital and Angel Vacacela Díaz, CTO at Univisia Ecuador, took part of the panel ‘Future trends in pay TV and home technologies’. Some of the most relevant topics of the debate were the roles of broadband access networks via FTTH, the arrival of 5G, the current role of mobile connections in the advance on fixed ones and the impact of Android TV.
‘I consider that the final destination of the access network to offer broadband is FTTH’, said Martinez, although he stressed that it is a matter that ‘depends on each operators DNA’, and indicated that the main challenge is focused on determining in what way operators can make these types of investments. ‘By the way operators see that the speeds they can offer with their current capabilities and infrastructure they currently have available are still competitive and belongs to the needs of households, Docsis will have much more to give, at least in the medium term’, and pointed out that Docsis ‘has much more to give’. It has speeds that are still acceptable for medium-term customers’. Vacacela also expressed himself on this issue and indicated that ‘it depends on when to take the step’. The executive explained that ‘Docsis has operating time for many years to come, but everything will depend on what we want to do and at what time, but there is a long way to go with this technology’.
With regard to the move to 5G to offer residential products developed by Verizon in the US, Vacacela said that ‘they have made a good decision, in order to continue the technological advance. But the company, until 2018, had developed this technology in five cities, and they plan to have 18 more this year. The deployment of this type of technology is not easy or cheap, and I think they will deploy these networks only in greatest concentration places, where demand justifies it. There is now way for us to consider that wireless technologies are going to displace physical ones’, he concluded. ‘Verizon is doing it in the most populated cities in the US, particularly Chicago and Los Angeles, and this year is only allowing access to 5G in Motorola devices’, Gomes added, and emphasized the high values involved in these technologies implementation. ‘FTTH, rather than being replaced by 5G according to Verizon’s commercial promise, is being an enabler of 5G services, which would not be viable without a good infrastructure and great connectivity’, concluded part of the executives.
‘It will be very difficult for mobile services to replace fixed connectivity’, the executives said, noting that ‘in terms of coverage, Wi-Fi offers higher levels of quality and a more predictable user experience than a mobile connection. I see a lot of future for fixed broadband connections, which regard for being definitively replaced by a mobile ones’, “said one of them. According to Gomez, Cisco estimates that mobile data consumption in Latin America will continue to grow by a 50% average per year. Martínez, however, expressed that ‘in Latin America, each residential user will try to stay in the fixed service, which is much cheaper and involves several connected devices’.
About Wi-Fi coverage in homes, Gomes said that ‘in most Latin American households, mobile phones are leaders’. The executive emphasized on voice commands and stressed that ‘at present. the use of mobiles is a matter of all ages’. Martinez added that ‘there is no discussion around the fact that mobile devices govern users consumption habits, but behind them is the option to connect to mobile or fixed networks, and most of the traffic in Latin America and in the whole world is made through wifi networks, through fixed broadband connections. There is always a need for a fixed broadband, and not even 5G will be able to guarantee an adequate level of connectivity for the number of devices that will be required’, he said, and, regarding homes, explained that ‘devices that we normally connect to our users to bring them internet are not enough to make full coverage sure in all corners of a home, so the challenge for operators is to get more and more into the client’s premises, to see how we guarantee that they have more coverage and make the speed we promise come true’.
‘For us and all big operators, Android TV means to give final customers the power of entertainment’, said Gomez, and referred to it as the possibility of ‘extending the experience we have today through our cell phones, to other screens’. Apart from that, she indicated that Android TV allows an operator to ‘access to new income sources, running agreements with applications or content companies’, and highlighted the use of Google’s assistant to meet daily needs, and Google Cast to extend the experience to a bigger screen. ‘I do not see why operators put so much resistance in changing’, she concluded.