By Marc Bensadoun, CEO of Newfield Wireless, a Tektronix Communications company and a leader in RAN geoanalytics
“Big data analytics provides telcos with the opportunity to sustain and grow their businesses beyond simple connectivity,” said Mi-Young Ko, director of enterprise strategy, research department, Korea Telecom, in an interview posted on this blog back in August.
As mobile network operators transition to, grow and continuously optimise their 4G LTE networks, there is no overstating the value and benefits of end-to-end, real-time intelligence. It enables operators to draw value from their own data in a cost-efficient manner. And it has tremendous potential to do more.
In another interview on this blog from September 2013, Mansoor Hanif, director of RAN development & programmes, EE, UK, said: “We believe that ensuring excellent quality in mobility will be the biggest challenge, especially between different frequency bands – we are pushing our suppliers for intelligent features to help us control this in an efficient way.”
Intelligence equals data in today’s fast-paced mobile market. Burdens on operators’ networks are growing at an astounding rate, and quality of experience is job number one. Subscribers hear offers for MORE, BETTER, FASTER, and they want it. But this puts even greater strains on the operators who need to meet and hopefully exceed consumer demands.
So when operators look at Radio Access Network (RAN) planning and optimisation tools, from what do they have to choose? Legacy tools, such as drive testing, are fast becoming obsolete as more effective and affordable solutions take their place. Drive testing describes an artificial environment, catches only a moment in time and doesn’t lend itself to real world troubleshooting.
In fact, we recently had a conversation with a prominent RAN engineering service company, and we learned they have ceased drive testing for high-end optimisation services, primarily because it’s not scalable for size, time or geography. So when customers come to them and want to optimise their networks on a national scale, or at a key venue, how will they do it?
Combining real-time geo-location of devices with big data can answer vital planning and optimisation questions for operators, such as:
Where are my demand hotspots, and what are their characteristics?
- Where are my customers using their devices?
- What is the impact to my network of a new device?
- Where are my customers experiencing dropped calls?
- Why are subscribers experiencing drops or low throughput?
- How do I ensure the successful deployment of new technologies, like VoLTE, at a lower cost?
In place of legacy solutions, forward-looking infrastructure companies and operators are moving towards comprehensive, real-time, data-based platforms, to monitor device and subscriber experience with analytics, to understand and improve performance. In other words, for outdoor and indoor planning and optimisation, it’s all about the big data.
About the author: Marc Bensadoun is founder and CEO of Newfield Wireless, a Tektronix Communications company and leader in RAN geoanalytics. For more information, please visit www.newfieldwireless.com.