This blog is by Sandra Pierini at Nokia Networks.
Nokia provided the world’s first GSM network over 20 years ago. The mobile revolution really took off when the portable mobile voice device was a fresh-faced actor entering the spotlight. Today, mobile data service usage is booming and newer technologies have taken center stage.
What does this mean for operators? Many are looking to reallocate parts of their GSM spectrums to serve their HSPA and LTE services and thereby sustain business with users who have GSM-only phones, as well as serve machine-type traffic, while at the same time maximizing mobile broadband performance by using HSPA and LTE.
Furthermore, the fast growth of LTE already makes refarming 3G frequencies to LTE a serious option for some operators. Nokia’s Vision 2020 has long predicted that users will exchange or download 1 gigabyte per user per day by 2020. Yet, based on a recent case study in an European country, it has become clear that taking full use of LTE on 2600 MHz, 1800 MHz and 800 MHz frequencies as well as refarming 2100 MHz to LTE will be needed well before 2020 in order to serve the growing amounts of traffic.
Although the 2.1 GHz band is widely used for 3G today, we expect that operators will be compelled to re-farm this band to LTE in the longer term – and the first cases have already appeared.
Both low and high frequencies have their attractions – lower frequencies for the great coverage they provide and higher frequencies for the much-needed capacity. Other attributes also play a role: better network quality will help cut churn, while operators can get more data traffic and revenue from HSPA and LTE subscribers than from GSM subscribers.
Getting there requires a helping hand from an experienced coach. Nokia Networks helps operators take advantage of the benefits of refarming with the help of network planning services and powerful tools for analyzing traffic and legacy network design, including the Nokia Single RAN Advanced solution for step-by-step refarming.
Nokia allows an HSPA carrier to be refarmed within 3.8 MHz and enables dual cell HSPA+ service within 7.6 MHz. The 3.8 MHz HSPA carrier solution will coordinate smoothly with all HSPA carrier aggregation options. On the LTE side, through narrower carrier spacing, a 10 MHz LTE carrier can be provided within 9.2 MHz.
Nokia Liquid Radio GSM software suite and related services are our most potent tools for GSM refarming. They allow operators to improve spectral efficiency and make up to 55% of their GSM spectrum available for refarming to HSPA and LTE while maintaining GSM service quality and performance.
Nokia has already successfully assisted in refarming (carving) 3G out for LTE as well as maintaining high network quality on GSM with only 3.8MHz
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