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Cellular Industry Offers New Revenue Opportunities

Carriers carriers not targeting the cellular industry are overlooking an important revenue stream. Thats the key message of todays Capturing Wireless Traffic and Extra Revenue session.

We hope to be able to demonstrate there are very attractive opportunities for folks if they focus on the marketplace both from a fiber optic and cell tower leasing perspective, says panelist David Kelley, who is president of PPL Telcom.

PPL Telcom has an extensive fiber optic network through central and eastern Pennsylvania and in the mid-Atlantic states, coupled with deep metro fiber in many of its markets. So we reach out from an end-to-end solution, he says. This is all lit fiber, so we offer both SONET circuitry as well as GigE.

The company offers that capacity to cellular carriers in need of facilities to connect their cell towers to their switches or to backhaul their tandem-switch traffic to other network providers, says Kelley.

Although many of the cellular providers today are aligned with RBOCs, Kelley says the cellular companies are prudent in looking at the lowest cost facilities. He adds that diversity also is a key ingredient for carrier customers. When you look at PPL, we have redundant DWDM, so we have dual diversity, Kelley explains. Whats attractive is it gives the cell carrier the opportunity for one-stop shopping and fulfills their requirement from performance, diversity, QoS [standpoints] and provides lower cost solutions than what they might get from the RBOCs. In most cases RBOCs are thinking linear circuits. We have a total solution.

According to panelist Nicholas Lenoci Jr., national vice president of sales and marketing at Looking Glass Networks Inc., there are five key types of transport that cellular carriers require. One is fiber or bandwidth between wireless switches in a market. Another is facilities between their switch or switches and the long-distance carriers they use. A third is connections between their wireless switches and ILEC tandem switches. A fourth when the cellular carriers become more astute is capacity between local switches to ILEC end offices; this enables cellular carrier to save mileage costs from the tandem, he says. The fifth type of transport cellular carriers require allows them to interconnect their switches in a metro area or other geographic region, between Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., for example, says Lenoci. A cellular provider could pass off the traffic to its long-distance carrier in such scenarios, he says, but if they have enough traffic they could do it less expensively over a private circuit between cities, he says.

Competitive carriers need to invest in bringing our own fiber into cellular main switching centers. Lenoci says. Then this opportunity is open to us.


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