Backhaul-on-demand could be answer to ‘iPhone phenomenon’


16 Feb 2010

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The iPhone phenomenon on wireless networks is well-known: the rise of the data heavy mobile user is beginning to cause backhaul crunch as wireless operators struggle to keep up with the masses of data passing through their networks on a daily basis.

Backhaul-on-demand is the answer, said Philip Bates, senior manager at global telecoms adviser Analysys Mason, in his talk at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona about how operators can better deal with this by offloading data traffic onto Wi-Fi hotspots and femtocells and finding economical ways to expand capacity at macrocell and microcell sites.

He went on to say that at most, operators globally have already indicated they aim to increase network capacity by moving from circuit-based to packet-based backhaul.

However, aside from dealing with plenty of mobile data, there are also increasing commercial and regulatory pressures on operators to share sites.

"We believe that this combination of factors creates a unique opportunity for incumbent fixed-line operators and their altnet competitors to offer shared packet-based backhaul services," said Bates.

He explained that ‘backhaul-on-demand’ could be a win-win situation for both the seller and the buyer.

"Mobile operators eliminate the risk of over- or under-dimensioning their backhaul networks as a result of errors in forecasting future levels of data traffic, avoid the capital expenditure associated with a move to packet-based backhaul, and safeguard their quality of service at shared sites by means of a service level agreement with the backhaul provider.

"Meanwhile, backhaul providers secure large, long-term revenue opportunities, and can mitigate the traffic forecasting risk to some extent through their ability to aggregate the traffic from multiple operators at low incremental cost," he added.

By Marie Boran

Caption: The iPhone and other smartphones are seen as ‘data hogs’ on wireless networks

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