Mobile broadband business is self sustainable

Nokia Siemens Networks publishes techno-economic study that shows, even without voice, operators can keep their monthly capital and operating expenditure to EUR 3 per subscriber*

(PresseBox) ( Espoo, Finland, )
Operators can profitably provide up to 5 GB 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. Additionally, 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 technoeconomic 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," said 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, costefficient 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 6sector 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, zerofootprint 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-àvis deploying a LTE network," added Tommi Uitto, head of Network Systems product management, Nokia Siemens Networks. "Our Flexi Multiradio Base Station with softwarebased 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."

* The CAPEX and OPEX costs reduce when there are more subscribers sharing the costs. With at least 500 subscribers per site each using less than 2 GB/month, the monthly CAPEX and OPEX will be below 3 EUR per subscriber. If the average data usage can be kept at less than 2 GB and the subscriber density is very high, it is possible to push the monthly CAPEX and OPEX below 2 EUR. If the site rental and backhaul costs are partly allocated to voice, then the monthly CAPEX and OPEX for broadband data will be even lower.

(Source: Nokia Siemens Networks' White Paper - Mobile Broadband with HSPA and LTE - capacity and cost aspects)

** How Nokia Siemens Networks provides more capacity to support more subscribers:

- 6sector sites almost double capacity per site compared to 3sector sites. Nokia Siemens Networks' new 6sector solution particularly allows aggressive and sustainable subscriber growth in existing networks. Since the 6sector approach only uses three antennas to deploy up to six sectors (directions), the solution doubles the existing capacity of traffic channels and at the same time increases the signaling capacity which is crucial for the use of smart devices.
- QoS differentiation can be applied to reinforce fair use policy and to prioritize critical applications, maximizing the use of existing resources while maintaining high quality service levels for subscribers.
- Offloading traffic from the macro network to small cells like micro- or femtocells. 3GPP Releases 8 and 9 include a number of enhancements for femtocells, including optimized architecture, as well as twoway handovers between macro- and femtocells. 3GPP Release 10 includes the work item "heterogeneous networks" that provides enhanced interworking between macrocells and small cells.
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