Islands of LTE
However, there's still some debate over whether all this will make LTE more expensive to roll out than operators initially imagined 'particularly given LTE's initial promise of cost savings via better spectral efficiency and the flatter all-IP architecture behind the base stations. Whatever their size or the cost of installation, more sites could add up to bigger expenses, particularly once backhaul is figured into the equation (see "Thorough planning needed for 4G backhaul," as well as this issue's feature, "Rethinking the backhaul").
Enyen Cheong, APAC marketing manager for test and measurement at JDSU, argues that the economics of LTE still make more sense when looking at the total cost of ownership. "It's not just the RAN sites, but also the flat IP architecture, Ethernet backhaul and related opex savings."
Christian Daignault, chief technology officer of CSL - which has already deployed its LTE network on top of a revamped all-IP network - insists that the business case for LTE is its opex efficiency gains in the longer term.