Mobile broadband business self-sustainable, Nokia Siemens says

11 May 2010

Mobile broadband operators can profitably provide users up to 5Gb of data per month for every one of their existing voice subscribers using HSPA and LTE radio technology and using spectrum on multiple frequency bands, a techno-economic study by Nokia Siemens has found.

The study found the higher the mobile broadband penetration, the lower the cost of delivering a gigabyte of data per subscriber.

Nokia-Siemens estimates that even without voice, operators can keep their monthly capital and operating expenditure to €3 per subscriber.

“While the data boom is finally upon us, the viability of the business has eluded most – operators have become increasingly preoccupied with the associated high costs of data delivery versus the lag in expected revenues,” said Marc Rouanne, head of Network Systems, Nokia Siemens Networks.

“Our study proves that success in mobile broadband can deliver efficiencies – radio access networks can enable sustainable, cost-efficient broadband offerings to subscribers by leveraging existing base station sites to their fullest capacity.”

Working on the premise that traffic is never equally distributed between sites – typically during a busy hour 50pc of the traffic is carried by 15pc of the cells – the majority of cells remain underutilised.

Adding more users can, in effect, lead to a more equal traffic distribution between sites and a more profitable use of available capacity.

Further, since traffic distribution is not equal between subscribers – 20pc of the subscribers take more than 80pc of the bandwidth – network efficiency can be greatly improved by balancing the traffic.

For example, radio capacity can be boosted by deploying additional macro sites in hot spots, using 6-sector configurations, applying quality of service differentiation, and by offloading traffic in highly populated areas.

By John Kennedy

Photo: The higher the mobile broadband penetration, the lower the cost of delivering a gigabyte of data per subscriber, a study by Nokia Siemens suggests

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years