Wireless 20|20 Blog

Operators of 4G-LTE cellular data networks face an uphill battle against rapidly increasing data usage and declining ARPU. Increased sales of iPhones, Android smartphones, tablets, and notebooks with embedded 3G/4G capabilities are all taxing the macro networks for scarce capacity resources. This exponential growth of data traffic is forcing operators to evaluate mid to long term migration strategies to LTE while in need of short term strategies to relieve their congested macro networks. On top of these clear and present dangers to the day-to-day operations of the network, operators are faced with increased scrutiny from shareholders to prove that a pure LTE overlay deployment will provide a positive ROI as well as an improved customer experience.

While IOT is one of the key areas of development for next generation wireless technology, many discussions and conference presentations on IOT focus on technology and use cases.

As the mobile industry continues to develop at breakneck speed, new technologies, spectrum uses, and products are being developed to support new user requirements and use cases. Of the most important new developments is the emergence of MulteFire™ technology which allows the implementation of LTE standalone in unlicensed and shared spectrum.

Much of the activity on 5G spectrum in the US to date has focused on millimeter (mmWave) spectrum, but it is not clear that mmWave spectrum will be suitable for mobile 5G network deployment in the near to mid-term future. High-band spectrum offers higher speeds and more capacity due to the amount of unused spectrum available at these frequencies, but mmWave is limited in geographic coverage needed for mobile deployments.

All municipalities are challenged to implement a smart cities strategy. There is interest to ensure that the mobile infrastructure can provide excellent coverage and meet the ever increasing capacity demands. They also want to implement smart city applications to streamline their municipal operations, provide information data, and improve services for their citizen. 

Major MNOs are in a very challenging position as mobile data demand continues to expand at breakneck pace. As smartphone usage becomes an inherent part of everyday life, MNOs are challenged to keep up with ever increasing demand for perfect coverage and adequate capacity. Markets in developed countries are very competitive for subscribers, have flat ARPUs, and yet must keep up with the escalating demand for capacity, which translates to more and more CapEx each year.

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