Operators can profitably provide up to 5Gb of data per month for every one of their existing voice subscribers by using HSPA and LTE radio technology in existing sites and by using spectrum on multiple frequency bands.
In addition, the higher the mobile broadband penetration, the lower the cost of delivering a gigabyte of data per subscriber. These findings were published by Nokia Siemens Networks in a recent mobile broadband techno-economic study to help operators make strategic decisions on the timing and focus of their network investments.
“While the data boom is finally upon us, the viability of the business has eluded most – operators have become increasingly preoccupied with the associated high costs of data delivery versus the lag in expected revenues,” says Marc Rouanne, head of Network Systems, Nokia Siemens Networks. “Our study proves that success in mobile broadband can deliver efficiencies – radio access networks can enable sustainable, cost-efficient broadband offerings to subscribers by leveraging existing base station sites to their fullest capacity.”
Working on the premise that traffic is never equally distributed between sites – typically during a busy hour 50% of the traffic is carried by 15% of the cells – the majority of cells remain underutilized. Adding more users can in effect lead to a more equal traffic distribution between sites and a more profitable use of available capacity.
Further, since traffic distribution is not equal between subscribers – 20% of the subscribers take more than 80% of the bandwidth – network efficiency can be greatly improved by balancing the traffic. For example, radio capacity can be boosted by deploying additional macro sites in hot spots, using 6-sector configurations**, applying QoS differentiation, and by offloading traffic in highly populated areas.
Operating expenditure is the main component in an operator’s cost base. Nokia Siemens Networks’ Flexi Multiradio Base Station is a compact, zero-footprint base station that fits on any existing base station site, making the reuse of existing sites extremely feasible. Fully deployable outdoors, it also makes new site acquisition simpler compared to conventional base station designs and can save on costs including electricity, site rental, backhaul and maintenance. In addition, the company’s single RAN offering will enable operators to leverage LTE to lower the cost per bit, especially when HSPA spectrum is fully utilized.
"The key to maximizing profit from the network will depend upon the accuracy of upgrading capacity of the existing HSPA network vis-à-vis deploying a LTE network,” adds Tommi Uitto, head of Network Systems product management, Nokia Siemens Networks. “Our Flexi Multiradio Base Station with software-based evolution will allow operators to efficiently and simultaneously build high capacity on multiple bands with GSM, HSPA and LTE radio access technology, proving to be a huge differentiator and success factor.”