If a successful roll out of 4G services is to be achieved in the UK Actix believes Government plans to further deregulate planning for mobile communications need to include a centralised, comprehensive planning database for mobile operators and contractors.
According to figures released by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), mobile network operators estimate just 30%-40% of existing sites that need to be upgraded to support a swifter roll-out of 4G will be covered under existing development rights. Without deregulation, some 6,000 – 7,000 sites would still require planning permission in the short term, placing undue stress on operators and local planning authorities.
Mobile operators face increasing operational challenges when planning and rolling out complex 4G networks which demand a mix of macro and numerous small cell installations. With the help of Actix’s software platform, operators are able to geo-locate customer experiences in real time, accurately mapping coverage and capacity to better dictate planning. Then operators can use the software to adapt business processes designed to deploy and manage hundreds of base stations, scaling them to now accommodate tens of thousands of small cells. These advancements result in planning cycles reducing from six months to a matter of weeks. To keep pace with this network development and prevent the hold up of 4G roll out planning deregulation is an absolute necessity.
Neil Coleman, Director of Global Marketing, Actix, says: “Easing planning regulations will help operators deliver faster and more robust networks to subscribers who already exhibit an unparalleled demand for mobile data. But the reality of planning controls and regulations will always impact on the perfect network scenario.”
Where DCMS can make a considerable difference is by supporting the provision of a dedicated, centralised planning database. This would allow platforms, such as Actix’s, to draw down the latest government planning information and correlate it with live network analytics, streamlining and speeding up identification of critical locations where small cells can be deployed.
Open access to zoned planning regulations, which can be instantly mapped in real time against subscriber hotspots or network holes with poor or no coverage, would help accelerate network planning and resolve connection issues. Requests to locate infrastructure in protected locations, such as heritage sites or sites of special scientific interest, would be instantly avoided, simplifying the approval processes when locating key new infrastructure to support 4G network roll out.
Being able to accurately plan for 4G roll out makes the process quicker and more cost effective, while ensuring the subscriber experience of the network for both voice and data is of the highest quality. Rapid deployment of 4G services is essential according to DCMS, as it accounts for more than 8% of the UK’s GDP and can make a vital contribution to the growth of the internet economy.
“With this data to hand mobile operators can avoid delays and boost the roll-out of a more effective mobile broadband, which is essential if they are to support the growth of UK business and jobs, which for the Government is a key goal to be derived from the auction of 4G spectrum,” says Coleman.
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