Singaporean incumbent SingTel has deployed Ericsson’s self-organizing network (SON) Optimization Manager on its W-CDMA networks.
The SON solution includes coverage capacity optimization and load balance, and automatic neighbor relation handling.
Self-healing functions are being developed to automatically compensate for cell outages by adjusting the neighboring cells to find the optimal configuration.
Tay Yeow Lian, SingTel’s vice president of mobile core engineering, says with SON and other network enhancements, customers can enjoy up to 20% faster internet access in crowded places that are prone to network congestion.
“The chances of encountering a dropped call at these packed locations will also be reduced by as much as 40%,” Tay added.
According to Infonetics Research, the global mobile network optimization and SON market will increase by 13% in 2013 and is expected to grow to nearly $5 billion by 2017. This compared to a 17% growth in 2012, driven by major deployments at AT&T and KDDI and many smaller deals.
The growth, Infonetics noted, is driven mainly by 3G network optimization, with over 80% of mobile operators worldwide are using SON for 3G/HSPA/HSPA+ optimization, while centralized SON (C-SON) is predominant in optimization schemes.
“SON remains baked in LTE, but as an evolutionary 3GGP technology, SON will continue to evolve, offering more and more advanced features. So deploying SON for 3G optimization – with the zero-touch network as the long-term goal – is something that’s natural and logical for many operators,” notes Stéphane Téral, principal analyst for mobile infrastructure and carrier economics at Infonetics Research.
Téral added: “There is at least one cumbersome task, however, that can’t be easily automated and will require human intervention for quite a long time: drive testing. Our discussions with large mobile operators confirm there’s no way to replace today’s rudimentary technique of having a crew cruising a neighborhood in a truck to measure what’s going on.”