How Will Cable MSOs Assure Their MVNO Wireless Services?

Cable multiple system operators (MSOs) in the U.S. are evolving their business models yet again by rolling out their own wireless services. Take Comcast NBCUniversal, for example: the company, which once was predominantly a cable TV provider but now does the bulk of its business through broadband internet access, last April launched Xfinity Mobile, a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) subsidiary that delivers wireless access through a combination of their own wi-fi hotspots and Verizon’s network. Charter Communications has plans to launch a similar offering of its own in 2018, leveraging an MVNO deal it has with Verizon.

Even if their intention is not going head-to-head with mobile network operators (MNOs), at least at first, MSOs in the wireless space nonetheless face significant competitive and customer satisfaction pressures. Making such ventures successful requires forging partnerships that once would have been unthinkable (like Comcast and Charter Communications teaming up to expand both their mobile coverage areas) and using a variety of access technologies, including 3.5 GHz unlicensed LTE spectrum, Wi-Fi (which Comcast used as a marketing point in its Xfinity Mobile launch announcement) and small cells.

Cable MSOs running MVNO business units must first and foremost ensure they’re meeting subscriber expectations. One way to do that is apply artificial intelligence for automated service assurance as they are now doing with broadband internet. Even more traditional methods of performance monitoring, though, requires a uniform method of managing the customer experience across a diversity of access technologies. To be able to act on service disruptions and manage quality of experience (QoE) requires accurate granular visibility that is agnostic to specific vendors, topologies, and access networks. Minute delays, microbursts, and micro-losses can have a profound impact on the customer experience.

As Accedian has helped Cox Communications with for their cable broadband and MVNO services (using customer premises equipment/CPE), the only really reliable method of achieving end-to-end service assurance nowadays is to add a consistent instrumentation layer that essentially resides above interoperability issues on multi-vendor networks. Such instrumentation, which can be mostly or totally virtualized depending on the application, works just as well for MVNO infrastructure as it does for DOCSIS-based cable offerings and traditional mobile networks. 

Eric Mitch

As Solutions Manager at Accedian, Eric applies a strong technical background in telecommunications to design Carrier Ethernet, small cells, and software-defined networking (SDN)/network functions virtualization (NFV) solutions for the cable MSO industry, working with partners, vendors, developers, and customers. He has more than 15 years experience in commercial and residential network engineering, operations, architecture, sales, and the Metro Ethernet Forum (MEF). Eric is a MEF Carrier Ethernet Certified Professional (MEF-CECP).

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  • Acronym Guide

    327 Terms, Page 1 of 82


    Second Generation
    A cellular telecom network that uses second-generation wireless technology. Such networks digitally encrypt phone conversations, and allow data services including SMS text messages.


    Third Generation
    A cellular network that uses third-generation wireless technology based on standards that support wireless voice telephony, mobile and fixed internet access, video calls, and mobile TV. Such networks are capable of data transfer rates of at least 200 Kbps and as fast as 21 Mbps.


    Third Generation Partnership Project
    International collaboration among telecommunications associations, with the purpose of developing and maintaining the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) specification for 3G mobile networks.


    Fourth Generation
    A cellular network that uses fourth generation wireless technology to deliver mobile broadband internet access in addition to voice and text messaging. Two synonymous 4G systems are commercially deployed: Mobile WiMAX an Long Term Evolution (LTE). LTE is the predominant system in the U.S.

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