Posts tagged ‘capacity’

Being Streetwise – Urban Small Cells for LTE

Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

This post is by Sue Monahan, CEO, Small Cell Forum

In the eyes of many consumers, 4G/LTE is no longer a next-gen technology. Numerous operators around the globe have rolled out their networks, are in the process of doing so or are planning to in the near future. Similarly, the latest and most desirable devices being launched boast 4G capability; something that will become less a feature, more of a standard as the year goes on.

But as more of the population migrate to 4G, taking advantage of the faster data speeds available to them, there is a risk networks will face similar bottlenecks to those of 3G. It is of the utmost importance operators can deliver the headline speeds that make 4G so attractive. (more…)

Planning ahead for LTE from a spectrum perspective

This post is by Scott McKenzie, Director, Coleago Consulting Limited.

This post is by Scott McKenzie, Director, Coleago Consulting Limited.

With mobile data currently growing globally at anything up to 70 per cent per annum (see diagram) , operators need to get more capacity out of their networks to successfully compete in an increasingly data centric world where customer expectations are rising. In the markets where 4G mobile data has taken off rapidly, speed has generally been one of the main marketing messages used to sell the service. Low capacity will increasingly lead to a poor customer experience and create opportunities for rivals with less congested networks. As we move into the data world we therefore believe that network quality (both capacity and coverage) will remain an important differentiator for operators wanting to avoid competing on price only.

Clearly LTE (with wide carrier bandwidths) offers significant advantages versus HSPA, such as higher user data speeds and reduced latency while offering the operator much lower cost capacity and higher network efficiency. However these benefits can only be realised if the operator has the right spectrum holdings to exploit these advantages in the first place.

Although it is very situation dependent, from working on numerous LTE and spectrum projects around the world, we believe that the best way that an existing operator can ensure it has a competitive network position is to secure a small number of wide LTE carriers; fragmented holdings should be avoided wherever possible. Also a good mix of high and low band spectrum is required to ensure that there is sufficient capacity and coverage in the network. Ideally an operator should aim for at least 2x10MHz of sub 1GHz spectrum for coverage (rural and in building), while for capacity one or more carriers of 2x20MHz at higher frequencies (preferably 1800 MHz) ought to be the target. Operators need to consider if they can re-farm spectrum to get some advantage.

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017

Source: Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast Update, 2012–2017

Failure to secure the ideal spectrum holdings does not however, mean that an operator is in a hopeless position, but it will certainly make life much harder.

There are various fall back strategies that an operator can pursue to overcome fragmented holdings. First of all, LTE-Advanced technology will in the future enable spectrum holdings to be aggregated, but this is not a fix that operators can rely on in the short term given that it will take time to come to market on both the infrastructure and device side. In theory spectrum trading, swapping or sharing may be permissible in many markets but again this is not a silver bullet as spectrum trades usually involve intense negotiations between rivals who will not give anything away cheaply to help a competitor. In addition, such transactions usually need the approval of competition authorities, which can be lengthy processes with a far from guaranteed outcome. There may also be significant transaction costs – for example, any profits will be subject to capital gains taxes.

One final issue that operators need to consider carefully when determining their preferred LTE spectrum holdings, is that they should always aim to secure spectrum that is aligned with standardised regional bands. This means that, they will have access to as wide a range of devices as possible which will also be vital from a commercial point of view as many consumers make their handset choice before selecting their operator.

The sober reality of small cells

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO of SpiderCloud

Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO of SpiderCloud

The big question in the industry is how we can address the mobile data explosion with small cells. Clearly, the industry has to rethink the use of in-building wireless. The macro cellular network simply cannot keep up with demand, especially when most of spectrum use comes from within buildings. The sober reality is that not all small cells are the same.

Conversations at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year highlighted the need to move beyond providing the basics of reliable indoor coverage and capacity and the same when/where segmentation that took place in Wi-Fi over a decade ago, is now taking place for small cells.

Small cells are blurring the lines between networks as well as the lines between enterprise and service provider Wi-Fi. The exploding use of smartphones and mobile applications has created major concerns within enterprises use of over-the-top (OTT) services. Is this the “death of the desk phone”? Will enterprise IT teams look to operators for support to handle BYOD and consider mobility as a service?

If they do, enterprises are looking at potential savings of $60billion over the next few years. In a recent survey conducted by YouGov, almost half of the respondents reported interest in mobile device management as an operator-hosted service to manage, monitor, secure and support mobile devices in the enterprise, and demonstrated an interest in Wi-Fi-as-a-service from their operator.

Use of small cells can indeed give mobile operators an inside advantage with enterprise customers. We are entering a period of where mobility and agile network services are delivered by communications providers. It is the emergence of a new role for mobile operators. Beyond basic coverage and capacity, this is a battle for apps and the Cloud. As we look to the 2020 services network, enterprise customers and mobile operators together will help transition customers from a wireless world to a mobile world –  from “Outside-In to Inside-Out” networks.

What we do know is that multi-access small cells (3G+4G+Wi-Fi) are fast becoming a reality, and that not all small cells are the same, and that is the sober reality.

– Ronny Haraldsvik SVP/CMO

Ronny rejoined SpiderCloud Wireless in June 2012 as senior vice president and CMO, having formerly served as VP Marketing July 2008 through to mid December, 2010. He has more than 23 years of global strategic marketing and industry experience from a range of technology segments including radio access networks, small cells, Wi-Fi, web and video optimisation, wireline networking and IP services, RFID, personal computing, wafer fabrication, software, and consumer devices.

You can follow Ronny Haraldsvik at Twitter @haraldsvik

SpiderCloud are panel sponsors of the LTE World Summit, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: