A Unified Theory of Mobile Broadband Profitability?
It seems everyone at the moment is focussed on the issue of mobile broadband profitability, driving the adoption of new technologies and techniques that allow operators to feed the seemingly insatiable desire of folks to consume wireless data. An interesting question you may ask (well at least I did) is whether there is a unifying theme amongst all these different approaches?
Well, I think there is..... and the answer is that all these techniques aim at increasing the level of "uniformity of consumption". The core hypothesis is that mobile broadband data would be a very attractive, profitable business, if only we could get resources to be used uniformly across the network.
So ideally, we would like networks/consumers with:
A) uniform spatial distribution - no "not-spots" due to the economics of delivering coverage cells which are only loaded less than 5% in the busy hour, and no stadium peaks of traffic around game time
B) uniform temporal distribution - a constant 4.16% of traffic consumed per hour with no pesky peaks of traffic in the evenings
C) uniform C/I distribution - with everyone experiencing an average 5-7 dB C/I ratio and no one suffering from building penetration loss
D) uniform traffic delivery - with optimization techniques for reducing the peakiness of traffic, e.g., ensuring content delivery is paced to the uniform rate of consumption
When we compare the different approaches being proposed, we can see that these should map into one or more of the above 4 categories, e.g., residential offload onto femto/WiFi maps to B and C.
This also explains why you can focus on a single cell deployment and rightly proclaim "mobile broadband is profitable". Factoring in an average 10% resource utilization across a network due to spatial non-uniformity, dealing with 7% of busy hour peaks due to temporal non-uniformity and supporting those indoor users consuming more than their fair share of RF resources is where the true cost of mobile broadband comes from.
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