What Telecom Operators Need to Do to Deploy a Profitable 5G Network, Telecom News, ET Telecom
Mobile operators around the world and in India are facing the same question: how fast and how big they should invest in building a 5G network. The common challenge is the massive investment in CAPEX required to build a 5G network and acquire new frequency spectrum. At the same time, operators are seeing stagnant or even declining revenue generation due to competitive pressure.
With spectrum planned for a few months across India, telecom operators need to consider the following points to achieve a cost-effective deployment:
In the past, the deployment strategy was the same for everyone. In the future, operators must be extremely surgical in the deployment of the network. Operators must have a strong link between the investment in the network and the business value they can derive from it. They need to strategize on the ability and ability to invest in which area, based on the study / research on how people are using the network in that area. For example, a 5G network deployment for a residential area will be different from an industrial area.
Full use of the frequency spectrum
5G needs spectrum over low, medium and high frequency ranges to provide extensive coverage and support all use cases. Low bands are needed to extend 5G mobile broadband to high speed in urban, suburban and rural cases. With low bands, the number of towers required will be less, while medium bands will provide a mix of coverage and capacity with deeper penetration into buildings.
High bands are needed for 5G services such as super high speed mobile broadband. The requirement for high bands in the number of turns will increase dramatically resulting in an overall increase in CAPEX and OPEX.
Therefore, 5G network deployment in rural areas with low band frequencies will be different from metropolitan cities where deployment of high band frequencies will be required.
Explore Open RANA significant amount of the total network cost to create a wireless network relates to the Radio Access Network (RAN) segment. Any reduction in RAN equipment will significantly help wireless operators save money.
In traditional network deployments, RAN software and hardware remain proprietary to a single vendor. Therefore, if an operator wants to perform a network upgrade, they are required to replace all hardware and software.
Open RAN is a movement to define and create 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G RAN solutions based on general-purpose, vendor-independent hardware and software technology.
Unlike traditional RAN, the Open RAN architecture separates hardware and software. This means that RAN hardware – for example, Baseband Units (BBUs) and Remote Radio Units (RRHs), can be purchased from any vendor and managed by Open RAN software to enable interoperability. multi-vendor RAN equipment and deployments.
There are two other things to open RAN:
Virtual RAN (vRAN) – Virtualization of the base tape drive, so that it runs as software on a generic hardware platform; Centralized / Cloud RAN (C-RAN) – consolidation of RAN hardware and migration to cloud native architecture.
All Open RAN instances eliminate vendor blocking and lead to a significant reduction in CAPEX and OPEX for operator radio access networks (RANs).
In summary, for the deployment of 5G in India, few regulatory aspects remain to be resolved. The pace of 5G deployment in India has also been halted by the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, service providers have already started to conceptualize and test 5G deployments to maximize CAPEX savings.
Now, telecom operators need to assess how the network infrastructure and associated cost will evolve over the next few years and the right kind of approach needed for deployment. Telecommunications operators will then be in a strong position to win the race for the early commercialization of 5G.
(The author is Managing Director of the Protiviti member firm for India)