Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) February 14, 2012 11:00 AM ET
Parker Moss - Vice President of Wireless Marketing
Wim Sweldens - President of Wireless Networks Product Division
Basil H. Alwan - President of IP Division (NYSEARCA:IPD)
Well, good morning, good afternoon and good evening, everybody. It is extremely exciting to see so many people join the line. Alcatel-Lucent have a very exciting announcement to make to you all today. My name is Parker Moss, I'm VP of Wireless Marketing, and we're here to announce a new wireless plus IP launch. And for that purpose, we have Wim Sweldens, President of the Wireless division, on the line with us; and Basil Alwan, President of the IP division.
Before we move on, just a few seconds of housekeeping for me. We welcome your questions. You'll be able to send questions at any time during the call. You have to be logged on to the webinar to do that, so please log on and address your questions to the question bar at the bottom of the screen.
We also have an active following on this topic on Twitter. So please do follow up and tweet away at #lightRadio. And of course, if you want more information on lightRadio WiFi, join us on alcatel-lucent.com/lightRadio-WiFi.
This call is being recorded. It's going to be available for replay 24 hours after this on our website.
And with that, I'm going to hand over to Wim. Go ahead, Wim.
Thank you very much, Parker, and again, good morning, good afternoon and good evening to everybody around the call and around the world. My name is Wim Sweldens, and I lead the Wireless business for Alcatel-Lucent.
Now as some of you may remember, about a year ago, we introduced lightRadio to the world and we focused as part of that announcement very much on the cellular 2G, 3G infrastructure and on the licensed spectrum. The exciting news we have today is around something we call lightRadio Wi-Fi. The lightRadio WiFi is obviously focused more on Wi-Fi technology and on unlicensed spectrum. And as part of our announcement, we will be talking about a new Wi-Fi gateway, Wi-Fi metro cell capability, as well as a policy and control solution, all part of the lightRadio end-to-end solutions and the lightRadio ecosystem and partners that we will be introducing today.
So we move to the next slide. In essence, what we are announcing is the end of the traditional Wi-Fi login that many of us have become so familiar with over the last so many years. And in essence, what we're doing, going to Slide 3, is we are really leveraging our leadership in IP and our leadership in wireless to make Wi-Fi easier for everyone and to have a seamless capability between traditional cellular licensed spectrum and Wi-Fi solutions from an end-user perspective.
Now what does that mean? In essence, that means that from an end-user, you don't have to worry anymore what type of network or what type of system that you're in. It's all taken care of by the network. Now we'll show you in a moment how it becomes easier for end users.
What it means for operators, that if you're a mobile operator and you own spectrum, you can actually complement the spectrum that you have and add more capacity to your network via this integrated Wi-Fi capability. Or if you're a wireline operator and you don't have traditional spectrum available, you can, again, use Wi-Fi capability to introduce new services and new revenue opportunities for your business.
And we're taking advantage of our capability in cellular, in Wi-Fi as well as in end-user and device management.
Now moving to the next slide. I mean, let's talk a little bit about what's going on in the Wi-Fi world. And I think as we all know, Wi-Fi is a big deal. I mean -- and it's actually becoming an even bigger deal, I mean, just as this picture of the Big Apple shows, because what's happening in the Wi-Fi market, which started traditionally as more of a home or home device or maybe small enterprise market, is that Wi-Fi is growing up. And Wi-Fi is really already getting embraced by some of the biggest operators in the world. Actually, today, already 40% of the hotspots are actually owned by mobile network operators. And that number is growing and actually will grow more over the next couple of years. I mean, a couple of years ago, it took AT&T a whole year to reach 20 million Wi-Fi logins. And last year, it just took them 11 days, I mean, for a total of 400 million-plus Wi-Fi logins on the AT&T network alone last year. So we see tremendous uptake in the Americas market. But it's not just the Americas. I mean, if you look at the rest of the world, I mean you see, for example, big operators like KDDI in Japan that already has 10,000 hotspots mid last year and will have, by the spring of this year, will have 100,000 hotspots. China Telecom has said that by the end of this year, they will have 1 million hotspots. And China Mobile will add another 1 million by the end of next year. So we see the number of hotspots growing into the millions over the next couple of years, and we also see that -- actually experiments have shown that most users, actually about 70% of the time, are in some type of Wi-Fi hotspot coverage. And so we see Wi-Fi being a big deal, becoming even a bigger deal going forward. So that's certainly exciting.
Now it's not as simple as that. If we move to the next slide, the unfortunate reality for a lot of Wi-Fi hotspots today, and I'm sure many of you realize as well as end users, is that it's complicated. If you find yourself in a coffee shop or in an airport or in a hotel or wherever you are around the world, typically it is not seamless at all. You have to first find out which Wi-Fi network you actually can get on. There is typically many of them available, some of them are locked. Some of them are unlocked. Some of them use authentication, some of them don't use authentication. Some of them you need to have a special account and you need to pull out your credit card in order to get on it. I mean, it is complicated. I mean, and complicated is not good from an overall business perspective and, for sure, not good from an end-user experience perspective. And the other thing that complication does is that it doesn't make it safe. By having so many passwords and so many logins, it typically reduces the amount of security. And complexity is the enemy of security in some sense.
And so what we're really announcing today, moving to the next slide, is a way to kind of remove all of this complexity. I mean, by doing -- leveraging work that we've done with standards groups and Wi-Fi Alliance and Wireless Broadband Alliance and the IEEE, we actually are solving all of these problems. And the various authentication, building and security mechanisms all become one seamless way of leveraging Wi-Fi connectivity in hotspots as well as cellular 2G, 3G and 4G capability, depending on the nature and place of where users roam.
And that's really the main thing to take away from it is that from an end-user perspective, it almost doesn't matter whether you're on a Wi-Fi or cellular network. What does matter is that you get one seamless broadband experience on your mobile device. And the network will actually worry about whether it's Wi-Fi or whether it's cellular technology. From an end-user, it becomes one integrated seamless experience.
And we actually have a short video that, if the operator could queue up the video, we'll show a very short, about 20 seconds video, that will show you the kind of end-user experience where you have one person, say, watching, say, a sports game on a mobile device. Now you could be in a taxi, you could be in a bus, you could be in a hotel, you could be in lots of different places. And what the end user will do is actually -- and this is a live demonstration that we did on our equipment, I mean, that we're announcing today. And so what the end user will do is actually watch the soccer game. I mean, and what you typically won't even notice and maybe you would even have missed it in this short clip is that during this clip, we actually handed over between cellular and Wi-Fi. And if you're watching the soccer game, you probably missed it. But that's the whole point. I mean, we don't want end users to worry about it, authenticate, wait for buffering or do any of those type of things. It really becomes a seamless experience. And that's really the key point that we're announcing today around lightRadio Wi-Fi capability.
What I will do next, I'm going to hand it over to Basil, who will walk us through a little bit more as to what is behind the scenes, how does it all work and which elements of our product portfolio we actually are making available as part of this announcement. So Basil?
Basil H. Alwan
Thank you, Wim, I appreciate it. Listen, chances are a good number of you today are listening to this webcast or watching it over Wi-Fi from home. This slide, we're showing a typical home nowadays with everybody connected in one way or another to the network. And statistics say that right now, most people are in Wi-Fi coverage about 2/3 of the day, which is a really tremendous statistic. And each day in a Wi-Fi zone lasts an approximately a couple of hours. There's no question Wi-Fi is here to stay. I think nobody would debate that.
The question is how do we take advantage of this kind of unused resource because in many cases, we're in a Wi-Fi zone, but we're not taking advantage of it for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is, as Wim said, it's complicated. There's -- there are authentication challenges and considerations about how things, how people are billed, security considerations. All of these things have to be taken into consideration.
So the question is how do we improve that experience for the subscriber, for the user? How do we, as Wim noted, not only help make it a more seamless experience, but also open up the environment such that one provider can be a wholesaler to another provider, so you could be in kind of any hotspot and have authentication to your home network and an integrated experience. So this requires kind of thinking through the entire network, both the mobile network, cellular network as well as the Wi-Fi network, which has really been a bit of an island relative to mobility. So that requires really taking a hard look at the overall architecture. It requires continuous innovation. It's kind of where we're focused. We're focused on the intersection of IP and mobile and making sure we're evaluating the ways in which we can help make these end-user experience and our customers' operational experience better over time.
So the -- at the center of this, from a network point of view and how we deal with this complexity, is the 7750 Service Router. And 7750 is a programmable platform. In the days of old, you would -- for each new service like this, the Wi-Fi gateway, a GGSN, an EPC which is an LTE gateway, or for that matter, business services and residential services or wireline service, you have different platforms. So there'll be 5, 6, 7 different platforms, all doing all these things. The problem with having all those different platforms is it makes it very difficult to integrate the different services. It also is a huge amount of operational complexity for our customers. So the 7750 platform is -- was the first industry service router and with the implication of that, what that means is it's programmable. We can add features to it over time and we can enhance the service without a complete swap-out, without a whole new platform. And that's really what's behind a lot of the success of the 7750 platform in a variety of various places in the network, whether that be what we call the BNG, which is the evolution of the BRAS, converged edge, ethernet services, so on and so forth.
The 7750 is fundamental to this solution. And what is the 7750 doing in this solution? It was acting as a Wi-Fi gateway or a WLAN gateway, which is an aggregator, really, of all the Wi-Fi access points. It's designed following a 3GPP standard, for what's called fat pipe, which is a name for the model that we're using here. And you can see in this diagram here the 7750 as a Wi-Fi gateway here, a WLAN gateway, connecting into various access points. This gives us a lot of flexibility, this particular architecture, and it's being designed in 3GPP, which is interesting because, of course, what we're really talking about here -- and I'll show this in the upcoming slide, is instead of just terminating the service on the Wi-Fi gateway, extending it into the cellular network and tying the 2 networks together. So basically the idea here is how do we take those 1.3 million hotspots today, which are projected to grow into 5, 6 million hotspots by 2015, and start to integrate them into these services so it's seamless, easy-to-use.
So right now, the statistics we show, it's about 63% of traffic that's generated by smartphones and tablets and other mobile devices is forecast to be offloaded to 6 networks via Wi-Fi and femtocells by 2015. There's a very big push right now as to how do I, as quickly as possible, use all of these resources to get traffic off of the wireless network and onto a wired network and backhauled and then back ultimately to these gateways.
So another part of the solution that we're talking about today is how do we make sure that the service is best for every provider -- I'm sorry, for every subscriber. And for that, we have another function called the ANDSF, which is basically a way to discover and decide which network is best for our customer to be on at any given time. It's part of our policy manager and it interconnects to the Wi-Fi gateway and keeps -- kind of keeps track of where are our subscribers. So if you have a subscriber now that is now homed all the way back, the anchor point is actually the GGSN or the EPC, the Packet Core, you now can make a decision as to where the subscriber should be, given a whole bunch of potential policies. It could be about signal strength, it could be about billing, it could be about any number of possible criteria A.nd the idea here is to provide, again, the best and most seamless experience at any time. And that's what the policy function is here, what we're calling the Wi-Fi control module.
So this is -- it's going to allow users to roam between home, public transit, work, café seamlessly and automatically and roam between cellular and Wi-Fi with really no action on their part. The criteria can be flexible. They can analyze -- we can analyze all these different types of data, time of day, subscriber profile preferences and make these smart decisions. The subscriber really doesn't have to do much, it just works. It removes the complexity of roaming between these various platforms. And the video was an example of that, where we showed a subscriber who was roaming back and forth off of 3G network, onto a Wi-Fi network and we kept that IP session alive.
So to make this even easier to integrate into the Wi-Fi operator's -- the Wi-Fi into the operator's network, we're expanding our lightRadio ecosystem as well. And what that means is we're adding a partnership program for access point industry leaders because there's -- recognize that the control portion of this network has to be able to work with any number of access points. And so as a result of that and a result of the standards work that we've done along with other vendors, we're putting together an architecture where any number of access point vendors can test with us and can, in fact, integrate with this entire solution.
So we have a very good partner set that are on this next slide. And these partners all support the Hotspot 2.0 and next-generation hotspot work as well as the 802.11 authentication encryption security work that have been tested, so that we have an end-to-end secure tunnel that implements this fat -- what we're calling fat pipe model that's being put together here. All these tests are really critical to accelerating lightRadio Wi-Fi into operating networks because we need to have kind of the entire system working across vendors so that it's easy to roll out one access point potentially in network A that might be wholesaling to another mobile provider, who might be using a different access point. But we can have a common infrastructure and a common way of handling the traffic, so it's all seamless to the subscriber.
So with lightRadio Wi-Fi, the subscribers really get a bunch of benefits. They get, first of, all scale, capacity, efficiency and footprint. They can use more of the Wi-Fi hotspots out there, a seamless access for subscribers. And we're on the road now to kind of melding this experience so that over time there's a relatively clean ability to move back and forth between these networks.
New -- certainly new opportunities for revenue especially for -- towards the consumers where you can meld these experiences and give them a better overall experience, but deal with some of the good attributes of Wi-Fi that are out there in terms of capabilities. But also for wholesalers who might want to have -- take a hotspot network and allow the cellular providers to authenticate onto their hotspot networks, as another example.
So this is kind of expansion of the wireless network without the cost spectrum, without the full wireless infrastructure. We're going to do both over the next few years. It's going to continue expansion of the licensed spectrum, but it's also going to be more and more usage of this unlicensed spectrum to make the overall subscriber experience a good one.
So now I'm going to hand it back to Wim, and he's going to talk to you a little bit about the implications for the RAN, the radioaccess network, and also tell you where you can see our lightRadio Wi-Fi Solution in action. Wim?
Good. Thanks, Basil. So let me talk a little bit, moving to Slide 18, about the benefits. I mean, so the benefits of this is 2 parts. I mean, both Basil and I have spoken about the end-user experience. I mean, seamless, simple, secure high bandwidth, I mean, which are obviously benefits. But we should also talk about the benefits for the service providers, which is really the increased coverage, the increased capacity, the ability to optimize your network and to expand the revenue potential.
So if you look at the point that Basil was making around the integrated gateway capabilities, take the platform that we already have, that many operators have, use this Wi-Fi gateway authentication capability on that. A big part of that is obviously the fact that we build the ecosystem around this. I mean, we are not traditionally a Wi-Fi access point provider. That is not our organic technology. So we are able to work with many of the Wi-Fi access point providers out there and we're announcing, I mean, 6 of them today as part of this ecosystem. And we have integrated and we can work with operators on that capability.
But what I also want to talk about is a little bit the next step. So what we can do is take a third-party Wi-Fi access point, bring it onto the network using the integrated gateway capabilities that Basil has described and that provides immediate benefit for end users and for operators. But what I also want to talk about is a little bit the next step because operators will be deploying cellular infrastructure, which today is mostly macro infrastructure. There is already a trend and we, as a company, have very much been leading that trend to move to smaller and smaller cells on the cellular side. And we've led that effort with our femto capability and now we're complementing that with our metro capability.
But at the end of the day, there are still, today, 2 separate boxes, I mean, whether it is a cellular, small cell or a Wi-Fi access point. And so the other exciting news that we are mentioning today is that we are going to integrate them going forward, meaning that on the radio side, we will have one unified portfolio of small cells that will do cellular and Wi-Fi capability in the same system. And in particular, I'll talk a little bit about the true kind of a important variance of the small cell, one that we call the femto variant and one that we call the metro variant. And let me say a couple of words about what we're doing in each of them.
So first of all, in the femto variant, we should think of it as a small cell, typically for home or small enterprise users. We pioneered that market a number of years ago and we've seen tremendous uptake on our femto capability. But where we're going with that next is that given that there's so many Wi-Fi access points and so many home gateway and devices out there already, we're evolving our business from just a stand-alone cellular femto system to more of a software capability, meaning that we can take our, and this is our core competence, femto software device point capabilities and add them to third-party suppliers. And we've made, and we've previously announced already, a key partnership with chipset vendors like Broadcom who are really dominant as the chipset vendor for those type of devices. And we can, today, take our femto software, run it on a Broadcom chipset and pretty much anybody's device who uses that particular chipset. So that's kind of how we're evolving in, let's say, the home and small enterprise space. And so our capability migrates to software.
On the other hand, what we're doing, and this is the first time we're mentioning this, we're taking our lightRadio metro cell, which is the product that we announced last year and is now actually in trials with operators live today, based on the Bell Labs cube technology, originally geared very much towards cellular infrastructure. And what we're announcing today is that we're adding Wi-Fi capability to that metro cell. I mean, so if you look at the next slide, you'll actually see a picture of our actual lightRadio metro cell, I mean, and you will see the cube technology as part of it and you see actually on the left one, that is actually a real live one deployed in the field. And what we're doing there, again, we are adding to our ecosystem and we're also announcing today that other companies like Qualcomm is providing the chipset for that Wi-Fi capability. And again we are working with other companies like, for example Motorola, who is our preferred partner for some of the software capability on the Wi-Fi integrated into the lightRadio metro cell.
So what we're really saying is that in addition to all the capabilities on the integrated gateway, we also have a number of flexible options available for operators to roll out variants of small cell technology, ranging from femto residential to femto enterprise, to metro indoor to metro outdoor. That entire spectrum, we now have, again, integrated Wi-Fi and cellular capabilities as part of our roadmap, as part of our ecosystem. And again, other companies are joining this ecosystem, I mean, including the access points that we mentioned earlier as well as some of the other chipset or infrastructure vendors like Broadcom, Qualcomm and Motorola. So we're very excited to see that the lightRadio effort that we started a year ago continues to pick up momentum, continues to pick up momentum in the market, as well as momentum from our capabilities around Wi-Fi, which is what we're announcing today.
So if I can kind of sum it up, I think the key message to take away from here is that we are integrating Wi-Fi with cellular capability. We're doing that in the radio domain as I just described, as well as in the core gateway and riding domain as Basil described. We're putting those capabilities together end-to-end. And with that, I think we have a very competitive and very appealing suite of mobile cellular and Wi-Fi capabilities that not only make life tremendously easier for end users, but also really simplify and lower the total cost of operations of mobile networks for some of our biggest customers. I mean, that is a key point.
Now I know we are doing a lot of talking today. We're showing visuals. We can go into some Q&A session in a moment and Parker will -- I'll hand it back to Parker. But also if you want to see it and if you want to see it in action, I would invite all of you to come visit us in Mobile World Congress in Barcelona soon. Come visit our booth, and you will actually be able to see live demonstrations of the capabilities that we introduced today. So I surely look forward to meeting many of you there.
So with that, I will conclude here and hand it back to Parker.
Thanks very much, Wim and Basil. Right, we have a very large number of questions. We won't be able to get through all of them in the remaining time, but we do commit to getting back to you by email if we don't get to your question today.
So let's start off with a straightforward question, and this one's for you, Wim. The question is will Wi-Fi replace cellular?
All right. Well, that's an easy question. I mean, the answer is no. I mean, Wi-Fi will not replace cellular. We really see them as complementary technologies. We see that with the technology that we're announcing today, operators can take advantage of both licensed and unlicensed spectrums and there are certain pros and cons of each of them, but we absolutely do not see Wi-Fi replacing the cellular infrastructure. We very much see them going hand-in-hand for the benefit of end users and service providers.
Thank you. And a question for Basil, can you give us an indication of customers' response, in particular to the ANDSF functionality?
Basil H. Alwan
Right. First of all, customer response to the overall solution has been extremely positive. We have a number of customers we're not able to announce just yet, that are in trials and are in fairly advanced stages on this. And as you can imagine, our -- the development of this came partially from customer demand, customers that, as Wim noted earlier, the number of hotspots that our key customers are rolling out are massive and they're growing. So the need for this is quite high. The Wi-Fi LAN controller or, let's say, the ANDSF functionality, the policy functionality about how we manage over time the subscriber and what network they're on at any given time, that's a little forward-looking right now, I would say. All of the providers are very, very interested in this topic. It's a very important topic because it's recognized that, that is going to be a key issue as you start to blend these networks. So once you have a common anchor point and you can maintain a session across these 2 technologies, now you have the opportunity to manage that in a proactive way. So the answer is it's a quite involved conversation with our customers right now. There's no doubt that the future of these technologies is bringing together, as we're talking about, and ultimately having this level of policy control so that we can maximize the benefit both economically, but also for the subscriber session and the quality of the session the customer has.
Thank you, Basil. Okay, we've had a lot of questions about handset support. So the broad theme is will my current handset or device support Wi-Fi and cellular handover?
Basil H. Alwan
Well, the answer to that question, there's 2 answers. First of all, the good news is, from an authentication point of view, we're implementing it such that you don't have to have a different authentication schema. So basically, this works flawlessly with your current handset, the current cellular authentication capabilities, using the already well deployed and well wrung-out authentication mechanism for cellular. So we're borrowing that and that, of course, makes that flawless. In terms of the actual handover, if you're into details of the handover, this will be an evolution over time. Now that we have the opportunity to do the handover, now we'll optimize the handover over time. Some cellular devices today will support this absolutely flawlessly, and most of the device manufacturers are working with us right now and the infrastructure vendors, too, in fact, work out how all handsets can natively support this. So today, depending on how the IP infrastructure in the handset is working, it will have some variation on how the handoff works. But that's just, I think, a transient issue. I think everybody sees the need for this and it's pretty straightforward how you get from here to more reasonable handoffs.
Okay, thank you. A lot of questions about regions and customer segments. So broadly speaking, which of the regions do we see taking off first in this market, and is this mostly a fit with the wireless companies or do we expect uptakes from other operators like cable and fixed line companies as well?
Basil H. Alwan
Wim, you want to grab that one? Or you want me...
Yes, I'll make a couple of comments. I think the -- as Basil said, we see a pretty strong demand for this type of technology, and the demand is actually very global. I mean, I mentioned earlier some of the activities that some of the U.S. operators are doing, some of the Japanese are doing, some of the Chinese are doing. But it really is a worldwide trend. I mean, I think in terms of the need that we see, I wouldn't say that one region is going to see a whole lot more of it than the other. I think it's a global trend. In terms of the type of operators that we see embracing, there's a lot of them are the traditional mobile operators. I mean, that's very clear because they see the opportunity to complement the spectrum that they have with the Wi-Fi capability. So absolutely. But we also see, let's say, some of the more traditional wireline players and those are some of the players that, depending on how their company is structured or the market that they serve, may not have access to traditional cellular spectrum. We definitely see them embracing that capability as well because, at the end of the day, everybody is looking for the same end-user experience, which today kind of works seamlessly maybe when you're in your own home or when you're in your own enterprise, but the moment you kind of leave that, let's say, predefined or pre-authenticated environment, it becomes very, very complicated no matter what part of the world that you're in. And we see that level of complication as really, I think of as a fundamental hurdle that we're removing with this technology. And because of the technology, we're expected to see pretty wide adoption across a variety of carriers as well as a variety of geographies.
Basil H. Alwan
One quick comment. What a lot of people already know is, if you're involved in this business, is the wireline -- the wireless network is becoming the world's largest wireline network in certain dimensions. Maybe not in bits but in, certainly, connectivity. And over time, it's even becoming very significant in bits. So the cooperation right now between wireline providers and wireless providers is quite a bit higher than you might imagine. Mobile backhaul is a great example where there's tremendous amount of wholesale work between the 2 constituents, the wireline, the current classical, either cable or wireline providers in the North America and the wireless providers. And that's going to extend -- this architecture allows that to happen, as part of the architecture was designed so that it's easy to set up a single access point and serve multiple carriers off of that access -- or if you're a member of carrier A, carrier B, carrier C, you can still seamlessly get connected to that Wi-Fi hotspot, which is going to open up that opportunity.
Great, thank you. We have a question on timelines. When is the Packet Core and when is the RAM capability going to be available for customers to buy?
So I will answer the RAM part and Basil, will let you answer the core part. So the integration of the lightRadio metro cell with Wi-Fi will be available by Q4 this year.
Basil H. Alwan
And as far as the Wi-Fi gateway functionality, we have it in the 7750 today. We're in trials as we speak, and that's something that's going to be full GA this year.
Full GA this year, thank you. Another question for Wim. Which Wi-Fi standards will our solution support?
We support pretty much all the existing Wi-Fi standards that are out there today. I mean, most of them are in the, let's say, 2 to 5 band and so there are the different letters, A, B, G, N and so on. We pretty much are able, because of the partnerships that we've mentioned, to support all of the, let's say, Wi-Fi variants that either access points or devices use today.
Excellent, thank you. Another question is comparing the wireless LAN gateway and the femto gateway, can you tell us whether these gateways are on the same box, and how they integrate [ph]?
Basil H. Alwan
I'm sorry, can you repeat the question? Sorry about that.
The wireless LAN gateway and the femto gateway, are these integrated gateways?
Basil H. Alwan
Yes, it's a good question. Obviously, today, the femto business started quite a bit earlier than the, let's say, than the hotspot kind of gateway business. And so we -- there are, generally speaking, custom gateways built for femto. Over time, I expect those to come together because in reality, as I mentioned earlier, these platforms -- one of the benefits of building these platforms like, for instance, today, our GGSN, our EPC or LTE gateway, our Wi-Fi gateway, all these gateways are built on a common platform. And the reason that we think that's important is both not only you have the opportunity to converge them if you want to, but oftentimes our customers are not looking to specifically converge them all onto a common physical platform as much as to have a common operational model. It makes a huge difference in the efficiency of their deployment in operations not to have completely separate infrastructures. And a great example is what we're doing here today, basically melding all these technologies together in a relatively effortless way so that -- whereas before it might have been quite complex to try to tie these together in an easy way.
Okay. Thank you, Basil, and thank you, Wim. We've actually come to the end of the questions. One more has just come in as I was speaking. It's a question about ecosystems, and the question is does the ecosystem play that we're announcing have a connection to the ng Connect ecosystem?
Let me try to answer that. So I think indirectly, I would say yes. I mean, we have been pretty vocal in terms of the ecosystem that we're building around, I mean, 4G technology, around LTE, around lightRadio. With ng Connect, we've shown kind of a number of new devices, services, end-user experiences. I mean something like the connected car that we have demonstrated also last year in Barcelona, shows kind of how broadband capabilities, mobile broadband capabilities can really transform end-user experience and can enhance productivity and can find their ways into lots of different ways. And we very much kind of try to be at the forefront of building that ecosystem because by doing that we could show the industry how these technologies transform end-user lives, but also create business opportunities for our customers. So in that sense, it's in the very much the same spirit that we announced the ecosystem here today because we know that there's lots of other companies out there. We know we're not the only one who built these pieces of this technology. So we have very much have a mentality of being open to work with other people. I mean, just like the gateway that we're announcing today, there are 6 existing access point providers that we inter-operate with and we can -- we can work together with. We have chipset vendors that we're partner with, we have other software vendors. I mean, so it's all part of, in our minds, the same mentality of partnering with other companies. The ng Connect one is somewhat more focused on, let's say, the end-user devices, services, applications. These ones are somewhat more focused on, let's say, the nuts and bolts that go behind this and the infrastructure that we built up to support those applications, but it's very much the same trend.
Good, okay. Well, with that, I think we will end the call. Many thanks first, Wim and Basil, for your time today. And thank you for the many listeners around the world who joined us today.
Basil H. Alwan
Thank you, guys.
Thank you for your participation in today's conference. This concludes the presentation. You may now disconnect. Good day.
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