Un-Carrier 7.0 Relies on Unequal Treatment of One App and its Packets

To provide seamless high-definition call quality and full and seamless interoperability of the T-Mobile US network and Wi-Fi hotspots, T-Mobile US relies on quality of service and prioritization that does not treat all apps and packets equally.

The T-Mobile Un-carrier 7.0 slogan fundamentally is about “transforming all available Wi-Fi locations worldwide into extensions of our network,” according to Neville Ray, T-Mobile US CTO.

Un-carrier 7.0 also is about ways to employ quality of service mechanisms and packet priorities--not treating all bits alike--to enable seamless voice operations across the mobile and Wi-Fi networks.

“We added some T-Mobile secret sauce, our VoLTE (Voice over Long Term Evolution) magic and worked closely with our partner to ensure T-Mobile voice calls over Wi-Fi are prioritized, with seamless and simple setup and support,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile US CTO.

“On top of all that, our patent-pending quality of service feature is designed so that T-Mobile voice calls maintain their clarity − no matter how much streaming music, video or games are coming through the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot ,” said Ray.

Those of you reading carefully will note the use of the terms “quality of service” and “prioritized.”

That is yet one more example of how the legitimate concern about “Internet openness” has become confused, over-extended and limiting to innovation and end user value.

Some applications--particularly voice and streaming audio and video--are highly susceptible to packet delay (latency and jitter). To preserve fidelity, T-Mobile US is applying quality of service measures using prioritization mechanisms of some sort.

But that does not “treat all packets equally.” As with other pro-consumer measures, such as providing no-incremental-cost access to Facebook or other apps, “not treating all packets or apps equally” sometimes is part of a value proposition for consumers and customers.

It might be subtle, but the new feature illustrates why network management and prioritized packet delivery sometimes are crucial for creating end user value.

“Now for the first time, thanks to our launch of next generation Wi-Fi calling and our use of new capabilities in our evolved Packet Data Gateway (ePDG), we’re providing our customers a seamless HD (high definition) voice calling experience whether they’re connected to a T-Mobile tower or a Wi-Fi connection,” said Ray. “No other major national carrier is doing this with Wi-Fi calling today.”
What that means is that T-Mobile US customers can use a smartphone to start a call on VoLTE and hand off to a connected Wi-Fi network, or initiate a call on Wi-Fi and then migrate to the T-Mobile US network, seamlessly.

“Your call won’t drop,” said Ray. “You won’t even know you’ve switched between networks.”

The new T-Mobile “Personal CellSpot” is an indoors picocell that acts like a small T-Mobile US cell site, boosting signal quality indoors.

The $25 personal Wi-Fi hotspot uses any fixed broadband connection to create a small area of mobile coverage indoors.

“In the age of the mobile Internet and interconnected devices, you simply can’t ignore the Wi-Fi connection,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile US CTO.
Un-carrier 7.0 refers to value created by extending network coverage, high-definition voice and in-home access points, all tied together by the role of Wi-Fi in the T-Mobile US access architecture.

Notably, effective use of Wi-Fi to support seamless call handoff between Wi-Fi and the T-Mobile US network, and maintenance of call quality, seems to require that all packets not be treated equally.
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