Traditionally mobile network operators (MNO) have implemented network sharing agreements due to cost savings. Passive network sharing cost savings are usually in the range of 16-35% on CAPEX and 16-35% for OPEX, while active network sharing cost savings may amount to 33-35% on CAPEX and 25-33% for OPEX.
Omnitele has assisted many MNOs to achieve these numbers by designing high quality shared and consolidated MOCN (shared RAN and with pooled spectrum) and MORAN (shared RAN but with separate spectrum) networks. Design criteria have included coverage improvement, combined customer base capacity prediction and reduction of sites.
The current trend is that also other players without physical mobile network infrastructure such as MVNOs, cable operators and private network owners, have taken an interest in acquiring spectrum licenses and deploying these through active sharing agreements with MNOs. Sharing arrangements could involve spectrum sharing, spectrum hosting or even neutral hosting options. Both parties may share an antenna and RF combiner or an antenna and a base station with either a multi carrier or shared spectrum solution.
Whatever the preferred spectrum sharing option is, Omnitele can assist in deciding on the most suitable one, a good governance model is required to be in place in order to have a successful sharing agreement for both parties.
Omnitele recently assisted a customer in drafting a contract with a partner MNO organisation for a MORAN type shared network. Omnitele’s customer held a number of LTE spectrum licenses which under the sharing agreement would be hosted by the partner MNO.
The contract needed to specify not only the business and network technical requirements but also service level agreements as well as the strategic, tactical and operational processes that are executed on the interface between the two parties.
Subsequently, the contractually agreed adherence to network roll out and service quality SLAs needed to be verified.
Omnitele applied its expertise in LTE RAN performance management to define realistic coverage, capacity and quality targets for the planned shared network. As a next step, Omnitele defined the shared network implementation process and interface processes between the customer and the MNO. Both targets and processes were converted into a service level agreement that served as the foundation for the shared network contract.
For the definition of the processes on the interface between customer and MNO, Omnitele adapted the ITIL service management model to describe a set of interface functions governing the managed services delivery. These included operational level managed services such as service operation, service transition and service improvement, as well as tactical level managed services such as service design and strategic level managed services. The corresponding interface procedures that were included in the contract were:
- Operations Management
- Incident Management
- Problem and Event Management
- Preventive Maintenance
- Configuration Management
- Change Management
- Release Management
- Deployment Management
- Performance Management
- Additionally, Managed Services Governance Processes such as Business Relationship Management, Financial Management and Service level management were included as well.
Omnitele defined a Managed Service Model for a MORAN shared network which formed the foundation for a shared network contract between an MVNO and an MNO. In addition, Omnitele has been assisting the successful implementation of this network sharing partnership.
The network sharing contract covered the hosting of LTE spectrum, but it will be very easy to extend it to cover also future 5G spectrum hosting.
The devised managed service model is well suited as a general-purpose model for a broad range of network sharing arrangements. Such arrangements could include joint ventures, tower companies and 5G spectrum sharing and/or hosting. 5G specifics might include high band site densification and the implementation of small cells, massive MIMO antenna configurations and running optic fiber backhaul links to all base stations. These investments will increase costs significantly and therefore make 5G RAN network sharing an attractive and cost-effective alternative.
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