The topic of coverage and capacity was again in the news this week, there is no doubt that service providers are being challenged to deliver on overall network performance as LTE user numbers rise. See the report here:
The interesting point raised here is the need to check which mobile operator best serves the region you live and work in; before you hit the retail stores or signing up with a service provider. This all reminds me of a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago. I was trying to explain that having an LTE phone doesn’t guarantee LTE performance. Performance is dependent on both the service providers network capabilities AND the total number of users fighting for bandwidth. Basically ignore the flash handset adverts and multi-billion marketing campaigns; check out the Mobile Service Providers with a little market research before spending some £500 or $800 on a new LTE phone or long-term contract.
On the topic of LTE, it is interesting how the average speed of LTE is decreasing as more people are signing up to the network, the average speed on 4G LTE nearly halved over the past year. Whilst 3G speed has flattened, maintaining a relatively uniform performance. Is this the result of the aggressive marketing campaigns? Which would mean they were very successful. Is LTE consumption now outstripping network capacity delivery? Which would be the much discussed ‘capacity crunch’ emerging as the mobile networks fill up with bandwidth-hungry devices such as smartphones and tablets?
From our perspective as a small cell vendor, this is all about operators next looking to find the right balance of investment in blanket national coverage then adding capacity more precisely at the point greatest consumption with small cells, which are of course the most accurate and cost effective way of balancing spend to consumption.