Prospective contribution of LTE Hetnet in socio economic growth of Bangladesh

--Engr. Ekhlas Uddin Ahmed


LTE or ‘Long Term Evolution’ is the 4th Generation Mobile Telecom Technology, meaning it promises to produce a capacity of more than 100 Mbps data speed per 20 MHz spectrum from a Single Cell (smallest unit of Radio Network). This data speed can be used for Internet & other data service usage, e.g. IP Camera, IP TV, IP telephony; etc. for different combinations of Men & Machines, whether point to point or point to multipoint. VoLTE (Voice over LTE) is also now a fully matured Packet switched Voice Service over LTE network.

HetNet or ‘Heterogeneous Network’ is a network with complex interoperation between macro cell, micro cell, pico cell, femto cell and in some cases WiFi network elements used together to provide a wide range of coverage zones, ranging from an open outdoor environment to office buildings, homes, and underground areas, with handoff capability between network elements.

LTE (TDD or FDD) in Bang-ladeshi Perspective

Bangladesh is a country of i) fast economic growth, ii) large & increasing population base, majority of which are young and techno-friendly, iii) low internet penetration, & iv) inferior quality of experience of whatever internet service we have.

Everything in nature has a breakthrough point or melting point. In Bangladesh, we achieved this breakthrough point in the Voice market around 2004/2005, when voice customer started increasing in the rate- ‘double of previous’ every year. In data market this is going to happen in 2014/2015. The above stated socio-techno-economic condition of Bangladesh perfectly suited for this data breakthrough.

The global eco-system of 4th generation telco-technlogy also supports this growth. Both TDD & FDD LTE has got matured in last couple of years. Smartphones, tablets, Dongles, My-Fi’s, BTSs, Core, Charging, Billing all are ready to embrace this evolution. Wimax operators can migrate to TDD-LTE & HSPA Operators can do the same towards FDD-LTE. LTE will bring in both higher user experience and enormous brand value.

Bangladesh’s Economy has ach-ieved momentum and it is growing fast

Bangladesh’s per capita GDP has increased steadily. It is believed to exceed $1000 in 2013. The population below poverty line has declined in past years. Both avg. monthly household income & expenditure have improved fast.

Broadband Experience in Bangladesh is Poor

Bangladesh ranks in 153rd place in terms of Internet User-Experience.  The result shown right side is from a test carried between Jan 9, 2014 and Feb 7, 2014. Tests from 152,016 unique IPs have been taken and out of 613,537 total tests, 83,087 are being used for the current Index.

LTE will Enable and Enhance the following Value added Services & Utility, out of Many, in BD:

w Municipal Applications:

1.         Improved Public Safety

a.         Monitor public locations and facilities with video surveillance

b.         Enhance feeling of public safety

c.         Identify illegal activities

d.         Provide real-time video to and from vehicles

e.         Connect fast to municipal applications

f.          Improve emergency situation management

2.         Extensive e-Education

a.         Connecting schools to the Internet

b.         Offering interactive learning

c.         Connecting remote schools and universities to remote Libraries and research facilities

d.         Utilizing remote research computers and databases

3.         Broadband for Municipalities

a.         Provide public Internet access (Hot Zones/WiFi)

b.         Offer residents a city portal and information access

c.         Build information and emergency kiosks ”     Business and Industry Applications:o            Connecting remote sites / extending IT reach

w         Securing sites

w         Connecting mobile/field workforces

w         Reducing OPEX and CAPEX

1.         Corporate Business (IT Solution)

a.         Corporate IT Applications

b.         Wireless Building-to-Building Connectivity

c.         Outdoor Wi-Fi Connectivity

d.         IP Telephony

2.         Utilities (Water, Electricity, Gas)

a.         Communication for Office Operations

b.         Automated Meter Reading (AMR)

c.         Enhanced Security and Safety

3.         Oil and Gas Industry

a.         Surveillance and Monitoring Along the Pipeline

b.         Real-time Environmental Data and Remote Office Solutions

c.         Rig-to-Ship and Rig-to-Shore

4.         Transportation (Rail, Road)

a.         Video Surveillance and Monitoring

b.         Surveillance Cameras in Railway Crossings

c.         Connecting Remote Premises to the Core Network

The Mobile Broadband Challenges:

Traffic Growth Outgrows Revenue Potential

w         Mobile data traffic will grow 30 folds by 2020

w         Data is 92% of 3G/4G traffic but 18% of revenue

w         Users have rising QoS expectations which means additional network capacity required but that capacity may not generate new revenues.

w         By 2018, ARPU will decline by 10%

So, a new approach regarding network design is required: HetNet

Solution for Capacity Crunch:

w         Reduce cost of delivering data with new network architecture

w         This involves lower cost hardware and a greater reliance on Intelligence Network

w         Allocate network resources more flexibly as required

w         Use a combination of spectrum bands as no single band will have

These entire objectives will be helped by adopting a LTE HetNet Strategy.

Economic Impact (+ve) of LTE HetNet:

w         In MaRe Survey of tier one mobile carriers, more than half of operators will deploy HSPA+ and/or LTE small cells for public access by 2018

w         78% believe some degree reliance on integrated small cells will be an ‘important’ element by 2016, while 52% of those positive respondents said it would be ‘critical’.