Network basics drive telco prospects in 2014

Marc Lippe
InfoVista
New technology deployments, such as LTE and small cells, are poised to lead the next phase of increased subscriber satisfaction because of the inherent benefits they offer customers. But before that takes place, mobile operators must tackle the basics. They will need to take on a renewed interest in network planning and design and network optimization to compete effectively this year and farther out in the future.
 
With the high-speed data access that LTE grants mobile users, it’s no wonder 63% of Mobile Europe’s readers agree that 4G/LTE has had the most disruptive impact on mobile operators in 2013. This is followed by big data (19%) and cloud RAN (14%).
 
Interestingly, Wi-Fi was very low on the list, despite its increasing role in the mobile landscape. However, 25% of operators say this will be a key disruptor in 2014, behind LTE (55%).
 
Mobile operators also indicated that the focus on 4G/LTE won’t waver in 2014, with 82% saying that LTE deployments will be a top network investment priority this year. With that increase in new mobile deployments, 42% will rely on network planning and network optimization to help contain capex and opex costs.
 
These findings largely summarize what we’re hearing from our customers as well. However, one topic that is left out of these findings is the rise in small cell deployments, which I predict will be an important disruptor in the mobile industry throughout this year, as this technology allows mobile operators to add additional network capacity at the appropriate location in high-density geographic areas.
 
For that strategy to be successful, though, mobile operators must rely on performance data like live traffic trends, geo-data and cell loads to visualize where small cells will be most effective and – therefore -- offer the best ROI.
 

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