4G to give mobile operators complexity headache

Network complexity will cause mobile operators problems next year as the number of technologies used to meet heavy data demand increases.

According to Actix, which provides companies with mobile network analytics, operators are likely to have difficulties in integrating the deployments of 4G and small cells, used for 3G data offloading, alongside existing 2G and 3G systems.   

This means that costs could be raised and impact negatively on customers experience as operators expand services to deal with growing demands on networks, with customers losing calls, and operators subsequently losing customers.  Switching between 2G and 3G technologies can potentially cause problems with connections if networks are not managed effectively.

150 mobile operators are expected to roll out LTE offerings in total next year using the networks set up by the big players. Meanwhile the number of small cells used by operators is expected to rise as they replace macro cells.  

This means that mobile operators are likely to be using at least two vendors to access the four technologies, as well a range of cell sizes, such as macro, pico, metro and femto in order to boost connectivity.

Subsequently, resources could be stretched thin, putting extra demand on tools, processes and staff.  According to Actix, which spoke to 400 of its mobile operator clients, there is concern that manually combining networks will no longer be viable, and there is a move towards a heterogeneous network to manage systems.  

Bill McHale, CEO at Actix, said in a statement that operators will have to scale out their activities through making use of customer insight and network analytics, as well as multi technology optimisation.

He added that with 4G on the way, and more and more tablets hitting the market, operators need to “get this right, or risk losing subscribers”.