The biggest challenge facing mobile operators in 2013 will be surviving the complexity of their networks, as exponential growth in data demand drives the deployment of LTE and small cells to bolster existing 2G and 3G networks, according to Actix. Using insights from over 400 mobile operator customers, Actix predicts that a lack of seamless integration between an increasing number of technologies, sites and cell sizes will significantly raise costs and impact customer experience.
In 2013, over 150 mobile operators will roll out LTE and the number of small cells is set to overtake macro cells, as networks are expanded with new access technologies. This will result in the average mobile operator network comprising four access technologies (2G, 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi), typically from a minimum of two vendors, with an increasing number of sites and multiple cell sizes, including macro, pico, metro, residential femto and enterprise femto.
Anticipating this shift, Actix has ensured its ActixOne platform is HetNet ready, enabling operators to react to and manage their rapidly evolving and increasingly complex environment quickly, with existing resources and at minimal cost. As a result, operators can select the right HetNet technology to deploy, ensuring it delivers as it is being rolled out and works seamlessly with other technologies on the network.
According to Bill McHale, CEO at Actix, the company’s on-going investment into HetNet capability reflects where the industry is going: “This new paradigm will severely stretch operators’ existing tools, processes and people to breaking point and it is no longer viable to manually stitch together heterogeneous networks or manage technologies in silos. To ensure a seamless customer experience operators will need to scale out their activities through more effective use of customer insight and network analytics and multi-technology optimization. With LTE services rolling out and more tablets entering the market operators need to get this right, or risk losing subscribers.”
Actix is already assisting many mobile operators in understanding the complexity of their networks, to avoid issues such as using the wrong technology in the wrong places to deliver capacity, and dropped calls resulting in poor handovers between LTE, 3G and 2G.
For example, Actix is helping a major European operator understand how its 3G and 2G coverage combine to deliver a seamless voice and data experience. A long term customer experience issue has been resolved on one of the major highways by providing intelligence for the first time on where calls were dropped due to poor 3G coverage and failing 3G to 2G handover. The operator was able to tweak its 3G network to provide continuous coverage on the highway, minimizing handovers without the costly investment in a new site.