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28 Nov 2012

Three top strategies for reducing LTE rollout risk

Written by Ghassan El-Housseini, 
Regional Director for the Middle East, 
Actix

LTE plans are quickly turning into reality.  Over 100 deployments have already got underway in 2012 as operators look to go live with LTE to beat the competition, improve data capacity and realise the cost per bit potential of LTE.

Here at Actix we’ve already been involved in rolling out LTE networks for some of the biggest operators in the US and Japan. Taking advantage of our direct experience and insight into some of the largest LTE rollouts to date, here are our three top strategies for minimizing LTE rollout risk.

1. Target LTE capacity

Target the right areas and understand your demand. LTE is all about data, so you need to know exactly where to deploy the right levels of capacity. Do you know where your iPad users are at lunchtimes? People paying extra for LTE will expect quick data speeds so you need to know where they will be and what they will want to do.


2.  Hold your vendors to account, don’t just rely on contracts

As with any rollout, LTE presents significant risks for operators.  However, although operators carry the risk it is the NEPs who are ultimately responsible for rollout quality and timing.

We’ve seen it time and time again, months are spent adding very specific KPIs into contracts with vendors, but the reality is the analysis needed is so time consuming and expensive it often doesn’t get done. KPIs themselves are essential, but they must be measurable, which means data collection and analysis have to be automated.


Risk
Who controls?
Operator Impact
LTE rollout is
not on time
NEP
Product launch delays
Regulatory compliance missed
Extension of rollout operation
LTE network is
not on quality
NEP
Lower service usage
Poor customer experience
Increased post acceptance optimization
Operator gets reputation for poor quality

3. Be prepared for the post LTE world

It’s easy to take your eye off the ball as the new network goes live, particularly for subscribers using 2G and 3G. Upgrading network infrastructure to a singleRAN (combined 2G and 3G base stations) and refarming spectrum will make it easier to rollout LTE, but it will disrupt network performance and customer experience.  Any changes need to be carefully planned and monitored. After upgrade make sure you have detailed insight into every customer’s experience to see exactly when and where problems occur - or risk losing those who see their network quality drop.

As LTE is rolled out operators need to get ready for the new reality of HetNet complexity.  Many processes and tools aren’t suited to this environment so now is the time to get your house in order.

Ghassan will be speaking at Middle East Com on 4th December 2012, discussing the importance of geo-intelligence in focusing the mobile operators’ network strategies and operations. For more information, please visit www.comworldseries.com/me and www.actix.com.