Making Network Sharing Viable
Sharing resources strengthens everyone
It’s not only kids who don’t like to share. Many operators too, shy away from opening up their networks to competitors – especially when there is a risk of compromising their competitive advantage. And if they need to increase capacity, they prefer to invest in boosting their own network infrastructure.
Clearly, this isn’t the best approach – especially when multiple operators are duplicating each other’s resources in the same metropolitan areas. Indeed, densifying multiple networks from various operators is becoming increasingly difficult to justify – not only due to the higher costs but also because of the added network interference.
Network sharing can offer a number of advantages to operators faced with planning network densification in their quest to boost user experience in high-density urban locations. Beyond just cost reduction, network sharing is much more efficient and enables networks to be scaled and optimized for better overall performance, less interference, reduced real estate and lower overall power consumption.
Densification with small cells
Since macro-cells are expensive and not always practical for street-level deployment, operators are beginning to warm to the idea of network sharing using lower-cost small cells. This involves a network provider adding a number of small cells to their own network within a high-demand metro area to help close coverage gaps and increase network capacity. The network provider then opens up the network to other mobile operators through a network sharing agreement, which sets out the commercial terms and conditions of use, including ownership and compensation arrangements.
However, since shared networks involve fewer cells than multiple single-operator ones, the business case for shared networks looks more attractive to operators who can’t justify the investment of having their own separate network. A local small cell network may be operated by a single MNO or a third-party network operator working independently from the various “tenants” sharing the infrastructure.
But that’s not enough for operators who own their own networks to justify the risks of network sharing. They need to know that network sharing will allow them to not only maintain but also build competitive advantage.
Network experience management (NxM) – an end-to-end experience approach
NxM is a new approach that enables operators to create service differentiation. It involves managing the entire end-to-end network experience, rather than looking at the access network in isolation (for example, when delivering QoS-sensitive services like VoLTE).
NxM enables each operator to create service differentiation for their customers by managing quality of experience (QoE) through automation, optimization and leveraging network expertise across their whole network. In addition, NxM can be employed to enable the host operator to organize capacity to suit its own business model. This can be an important enabler for network sharing and neutral host strategies (where the host provides infrastructure services to hosted clients). One example is that they can reserve capacity through the control of certain network resources to retain a competitive advantage.
With an NxM approach, network sharing becomes much more attractive by offering the best of both worlds, reducing the cost of higher density radio access networks while enabling service differentiation.
Learn why an effective NxM strategy is the key to network sharing challenges.