sunsetSpectrum, the most valuable commodity in telecoms, has always been a key discussion point across the LTE World Series as operator try to maximise its usage to deliver the required capacity to subscribers.

Numerous different techniques to maximise spectrum are currently being trialled and deployed by LTE vendors and operators, including; Carrier aggregation, LTE-U and the implementation of spectrum efficient TD-LTE networks. However, as operators begin to transfer more traffic to their LTE networks, liberalising 2G spectrum becomes a viable method of increasing capacity.

Unsurprisingly, the APAC region is leading the way with this trend; Korea Telekom already shut down their 2G network back in 2013. Other large operators are following suit; AT&T announced their 2G network is in the process of being shut down and the spectrum repurposed for future technology needs, and Telstra planning complete 2G sunset next year.

But what is the process of 2G shut down? When can operators justify the decommissioning of the network? And what factors contribute to this decision making process?

In the advanced markets of Asia in particular, these questions are becoming a large part of operator’s strategic discussions. Challenges arise when deciding how the remaining 2G traffic should be carried until the network is fully decommissioned, the best methodologies for migrating the remaining 2G traffic to 3G networks and how to minimise the cost of this migration.

Spectrum re-farming as method to increase network capacity will be a topic that will be discussed in depth at this year’s LTE Asia Summit, which will be taking place on the 6-8th of October at the Suntec in Singapore. The call for papers for the show is now open; if you’d like to submit a speaking proposal or get involved in the agenda research process please contact suzanne.rankine@informa.com for more information.

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