MOBILE NETWORKS OPERATORS
Mobile Network Densification
Mobile enterprise productivity could arguably be described as a victim of its own success. Enabling innovation, employment and growth, bandwidth is in hot demand and fiercely competitive at auction. Traditional spectrum-licensing models remain the limiting factor in terms of what the technology could be achieving and what Mobile Network Operators can realistically provide - with demand simply outstripping supply, particularly in dense urban areas and inside modern buildings, where progress depends on high quality 4G access with no buffering and latency.
Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS), in the 3.5GHz innovation band, offers new shared spectrum technology, and the potential to add wireless capacity to your network tactically as needed, in a cost-effective way.
CBRS offers 150MHz of spectrum within the 3.5Ghz band, and this is shared with Federal incumbents using a unique Spectrum Access System (SAS) mechanism. In contrast to the arms race of traditional spectrum-capacity adding, Mobile Operators can buy a CRBS Priority Access License at a cost expected to be far cheaper than today’s ‘exclusive’ licenses. Alternatively, they can operate freely in the 80MHz spectrum reserved for general access. This enables providers to deliver high-quality LTE services in a flexible, scalable way, in line with business demand for instant as-a-service deployment in 2020.
It’s a win-win scenario for operators and enterprises alike. Being able to rapidly roll out network capacity for new indoor and outdoor LTE services keeps customers satisfied, in an era when they expect to be able to scale-up their unified communications capacities at unprecedented speed in cloud-based environments. And scaling at speed does not mean compromising on quality, because this is effectively an extension of their existing LTE network; rather than depending on overcrowded wifi bandwidth, access is dynamically managed by the SAS, avoiding contention issues and interference. Without the need to deploy costly distributed antennae systems, CBRS installation costs are on a par with wifi, and are similarly non-disruptive to existing services. Extending wireless networks with a high-capacity, low-cost LTE network using CBRS offers enterprise clients new potential for competitive differentiation and increased market share in increasingly challenging business environments.
Every cable operator operates under the old truism that the more can you offer your customers, the more they will demand. The communications applications now available to them are hugely data-hungry, and now that cable wifi is a nationwide reality, operators are continually seeking new ways to increase capacity and satisfy the needs of both business and residential customers.
Augmenting wifi services with cellular bandwidth has helped up to a point, as has deploying more access points. But wifi uses unlicensed spectrum, which becomes increasingly congested leading to latency and buffering problems, which lead in turn to unhappy customers. MVNO contracts for cellular bandwidth are challenging and costly, leaving the cable operator at the mercy of contract terms and infrastructure completely outside of their control. This is an unsatisfactory and unsustainable relationship for all parties.
CBRS offers a genuinely new way to solve these problems, without cannibalizing existing capacity. The 3.5Ghz innovation band provides new shared-spectrum technology, at the price point of wifi rather than cellular – a cost-effective and sustainable solution.
The CBRS Benefits
CBRS offers 150 Mhz of spectrum in the 3.5 Ghz band, shared with Federal incumbents using a unique System Access System (SAS) mechanism. Cable operators will be able to lock in Priority Access Licenses at far more cost-effective rates than the exclusive contracts available today. Alternatively, they will be able to deliver high-quality LTE services within the 80 MHz General Access allocation, thus providing unprecedented flexibility and scale to their clients from an industry historically dependent on the deployment of physical cabling.
Augmenting the capacity of existing access points in this way has many benefits for cable operators, enabling them to ride the cloud-based UC revolution alongside their most demanding customers while simultaneously creating new business opportunities through premium enterprise-service offerings in areas where competition for capacity is at its most pressurized. Shared spectrum enables more tactical use to be made of existing MVNO contracts, reducing cost and dependency. This makes the business case increasingly viable for a truly hybrid strategy, which combines the best of wifi, shared spectrum, and cellular.
Above all, this flexible and responsive approach delivers what customers demand: fast, affordable, and scalable wireless connectivity, with rapid deployment, consistent service, and low latency.
For locations which will never be served with last-mile cabling, Broadband Wireless Access (BWA) providers have historically offered cost-effective fixed wireless solutions. As the remote work revolution accelerates demand for reliable high-speed broadband services in rural and suburban locations, many remain underserved – a situation which holds back economic development and regeneration.
The challenge for these remote workers and decentralized enterprises has always been consistent and reliable service. CBRS offers new opportunities for BWAs to invest in flexible and responsive network upgrades in order to meet these growing needs, expanding the availability of their existing fixed broadband services while remaining affordable and reliable. Deployment is rapid, low-cost and non-disruptive, as many BWAs already hold licenses in the 3650-3700 MHz bands, and as such the upgrade is to software only. This means rapid return on investment for the BWA, reliable low-latency service for distributed workers, and continued reinvestment in network infrastructure improvements.
CBRS offers 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band (3550-3700 MHz). This spectrum is shared with Federal incumbents using a unique Spectrum Access System (SAS) mechanism in addition to which BWAs can buy a Priority Access License (PAL) for a specific geographic area – this will be at a cost far cheaper than exclusive licenses offered today. Additionally or alternatively, BWAs can operate freely in the 80 MHz of spectrum set aside for General Access (GAA), delivering high-quality LTE services as they grow demand in new locations.
The business benefits for the BWA and its customers align perfectly with benefits for communities and the environment, as CBRS facilitates the immediate potential to provide rural America with accessible and affordable 21st century connectivity. Using LTE-based equipment to increase spectrum capacity from small channels in 3650-3700 MHz to wider channels in 3550-3700 MHz on either a PAL or GAA basis is creating significant excitement and investment, especially as it means no investment in new network gear is required. The CBRS rules include a provision for grandfathering interference protection for existing 3650-370 MHz services, ensuring sustainable competitive advantage for BWAs. The excellent propagation characteristics and promise of high spectral re-use combined with SAS interference management, means that CBRS is the solution BWAs have been looking for to better serve their customers.
ENTERPRISE & VERTICALS
Your company's own private LTE network
It’s a curious paradox for 2020 that even globally interconnected enterprises at the cutting edge of communications-technology use frequently struggle to get decent cellular coverage within their own offices. And it’s a problem that is made even worse when businesses need to provide high-quality coverage to their customers and external users, in environments such as hotels, hospitals and malls.
In the past, such businesses have been reliant on mobile operators to provide their service where their own wifi networks have struggled to meet demand. In situations where usage fluctuates, wifi can quickly get overloaded, experiencing delays and interference. Mobile resellers find it hard to obtain ROI within smaller buildings, leading to services that fall over at moments of greatest load. CBRS offers new opportunities for enterprises to upgrade the communications networks on which their business effectiveness depends, with a high-speed self-service LTE solution, deployable at costs and simplicity comparable to wifi.
Offering 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.5 GHz band, CBRS spectrum is shared with Federal incumbents using a unique Spectrum Access System (SAS) mechanism. Large enterprises can buy a Priority Access License (PAL) for a specific geographic area, at costs far cheaper than the exclusive licenses offered today. For businesses where the network is used to connect industrial IoT networks or applications for mining or energy management, this offers immediate utility. But the real disruptive impact of CBRS for enterprises is that 80 MHz of spectrum is set aside for General Access (GAA), where no license is needed to deliver high-quality LTE services – when and where they are needed.
Enterprises that own and operate their own high-speed LTE network via CBRS will not only benefit from reliable business-critical communications services, they can reduce interference and risk on the wifi network for devices like cameras and security equipment. And those that need to provide accessible coverage for external users will have the additional advantage of offering a reliable operator-neutral network for their customers as well as employees, whether they’re guests, patients, conference delegates or sports fans.
The potential for enterprises to benefit from CBRS are wide-ranging and waiting to be discovered. We’re working closely with visionary early adopters to explore the limits of what is possible.