Reality Check: LTE-Advanced Business Impacts
DNA Ltd, one of the leading mobile service providers in Finland, is testing LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) mobile network technology with Omnitele. The new technology is tested in a small cluster of DNA’s commercial 4G LTE network.
LTE-A introduces a set of features improving the capacity and customer experience of mobile networks beyond the current 4G LTE networks. The capacity increase is to be achieved mainly with advanced multi-antenna techniques and LTE carrier aggregation. A quick summary to LTE-A technology can be found here.
In the initial phase the theoretical peak bitrates are increased from 150 Mbps to 300 Mbps. This is achieved by combining two 20 MHz LTE carriers into a single wideband channel that can be allocated for a single user. Later on when the technology evolves, even 1000 Mbps can be reached by increasing the LTE-A bandwidth and number of MIMO antennas.
The field tests show that the practical performance is not so far from the theory. The average bitrate over a short drive test run was 207 Mbps. The highest measured value peaked to 270 Mbps. Worth noting is the fact that the tests were not conducted in a laboratory but in a practical live network.
In DNA network, LTE-A carrier aggregation rollout has been started and the feature is implemented in isolated locations. The technology will be more widely available during 2015.
“We will rollout LTE-A carrier aggregation with capacity based prioritisation, starting from locations with higher LTE usage. Eventually the technology will cover most of the population,” states Jarkko Laari, Director Radio Networks from DNA.
Omnitele sees 2015 to be the year for LTE-Advanced uptake and mass market emerge. Category-6 (300 Mbps) smartphones are already commercially available from Samsung and other big ones in the Android camp. Some Category 9 (450 Mbps) smartphones have also been released.
The good availability of LTE-A smartphone chipsets from e.g. Intel (XMMTM7260), Qiualcomm (Snapdragon 810) and Samsung (Exynos) also suggests that competition exists in the domain. We expect to see more LTE-A smartphones also in the lower price points during the course of 2015.
LTE-A carrier aggregation is a welcome technology that will benefit the whole industry. With a reasonable effort and cost, mobile operators can bring a notable capacity upgrade to the network. No heavy hardware rollout campaign is required.
The mobile subscribers will naturally benefit from the increased capacity. Although most of the mobile applications and services work quite well already with say 20 Mbps, LTE-A carrier aggregation means that more customers can have such service simultaneously.
Omnitele Ltd., founded in 1988 to set up the first GSM network in the world, is a pioneer within the wireless industry with over two decades of leading edge network and business consulting experience worldwide. Omnitele’s strengths lie in the experience received from 1.000+ projects conducted in 80+ countries. The expertise areas of the company include network strategy, design, monitoring and optimisation. For more information, visit www.omnitele.com
About DNA Finland
DNA Ltd is a Finnish telecommunications group providing high-quality voice, data and TV services for communication, entertainment and working. DNA is Finland’s largest cable operator and the leading pay TV provider in both the cable and terrestrial networks. For DNA, the key area for growth in the Corporate Business is the new way of working, independent of time and place, facilitated by smart mobile devices, diverse communication services and rapid connections. In 2014, DNA recorded a turnover of EUR 833.5 million and an operating profit of EUR 29.4 million. DNA Ltd has more than 3.5 million mobile communications and fixed network customer subscriptions. The Group also includes DNA Store, Finland’s largest retail chain selling mobile phones. For more information, please visit www.dna.fi, Twitter @DNA_fi and Facebook.