Increase earnings by operating only one mobile network

Press Release – February 17th, 2009


Legacy GSM networks are ageing as UMTS is increasingly becoming the technology of

choice for most mobile subscribers. UMTS is also poised to take over the 900 MHz band

from GSM. But what is the right strategy for phasing out GSM? “Operating only one network

is the key to increasing earnings,” say the strategy consultants at Omnitele. This was

Omnitele’s key message at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, February 17th.


New figures from the mobile strategy consultants of Omnitele suggest that mobile network

operators can save greatly on operating costs by operating a single combined GSM & UMTS

network. And lower operating costs translate directly to higher earnings. This should be welcome

news to many network operators at a time of financial crisis.


A move to a combined GSM & UMTS network can lead to lower cumulative network costs and

better utilization of network investments as early as 2012 for some operators.

New radio infrastructure technology in the form of single base station units supporting both GSM & UMTS technologies is instrumental lowering operational costs.


Complete phase-out of GSM is unlikely to bring any financial gains before 2015. It is to consider

phasing out the old GSM technology altogether in favour of UMTS and UMTS900. But our technoeconomic

models show that the incremental cost of expanding coverage as well as handset issues

would make it a costly proposition at this time. The right strategy and timing for the phasing out of

GSM depends heavily on local market and regulatory conditions, and need to be carefully

evaluated prior to any decision.


Particularly the availability and penetration of UMTS900 handsets is a showstopper for the full

phase out of GSM at this time. “UMTS900 handset penetration is forecast to reach 50% by 2014.

Before this time it is will not be relevant for most operators to switch off legacy GSM networks,”

says Mr Sampsa Laamanen, Principal Consultant at Omnitele.



About Omnitele:

Omnitele Ltd. is a pioneer within the wireless industry with twenty years of leading edge network and business

consulting experience worldwide. It was founded in 1988 to set up the first GSM operator in the world and is

owned by Finnish national telecom operators and an external investor. Omnitele’s strengths lie in mobile

network planning and development, technical consulting and operator business development. The aim is to

increase and improve overall operator performance and quality of services, and we thrive to provide best

solutions for deploying new technologies.