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The Network is Software Now: Adapting to the new mobile economics 2013-2018

発行 Maravedis LLC 商品コード 290768
出版日 ページ情報 英文
納期: 即日から翌営業日
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今、ネットワークはソフトウェア:新しいモバイルエコノミクスへの適応 The Network is Software Now: Adapting to the new mobile economics 2013-2018
出版日: 2013年12月01日 ページ情報: 英文








  • 新ネットワークの促進因子
  • ソリューションの組み合わせが要求される
  • ネットワークにおけるソフトウェアの増加

第1章 最新RANの構成

  • データ容量を引き上げる主な手法
  • スモールセル導入動向
  • モバイルネットワークにおけるキャリアWi-Fi
  • 新しいマクロレイヤー:C-RANおよびスーパーマクロ

第2章 MNO予算はソフトウェア・OPEXにシフト

  • HetNetを理解するための主要ソフトウェア
  • 新しいOSSおよびSON
  • NFVおよびSDNの進歩

第3章 大幅なRANエコシステムのシフト

  • 基地局エコシステムの変化
  • メトロセルサプライヤー
  • 基地局のチップ
  • アンテナ:ASS・DAS
  • 変動的なSONエコシステム

第4章 スペクトルの課題

第5章 RANインフラ予測

  • スモールセル
  • キャリアWi-Fi
  • スモールセルCAPEX
  • マクロレイヤーサイト予測
  • マクロセルCAPEX
  • マクロサイトの将来分析
  • クラウドRAN




A successful and profitable mobile network increasingly relies more on software than hardware. Increasingly detailed analytics and optimization tools; the convergence of network data with IT systems such as customer relationship management; and intelligent resource allocation are among the most important ways to make a modern RAN deliver the best performance in the most efficient way, and therefore support strong quality of experience at affordable cost.

This trend has been building throughout the 3G era, but is gathering pace with the rise of mobile broadband and the advent of LTE. Tools like self-organizing network (SON) systems were once expected to be integrated into hardware, but the increasingly complexity of networks - especially HetNets which rely on hundreds of thousands of small cells - have led to the rise of specialized software offerings.

The move to software is not just about optimization tools and the new OSS, though these will dominate carriers' network software budgets in the period 2013-2018. Upgrades to new Release 9 and 10 LTE standards such as CoMP (coordinated multipoint) are increasingly achieved mainly in software, with the main LTE-Advanced hardware changes focusing on antennas.

And eventually, the network really will become software as carriers start to virtualize key activities such as the packet core as software applications on standard servers or commodity routers. In Cloud-RAN, an extension of the trend to build modern mobile networks in a highly distributed way, the base station functions are all virtualized on a central server, leaving just a stripped-down antenna/radio unit at the cell site.

This important shift in network planning will have a profound effect on the patterns of mobile operator spending. Not only will software capex increasingly outweigh the hardware budget, but there will also be a major shift to opex, driven in particular by network sharing and by managed services/outsourcing deals.

This report analyzes and forecasts these trends in detail, based on operator-by-operator modeling of the top 40 mobile carrier groups in the world (a total of 152 operating units.; ongoing tracking of the 4G network spending plans of the top 100 LTE providers; and extensive interviews with the entire RAN vendor base and supply chain.

The result is a detailed examination of how RAN platforms will evolve in terms of cell site and IT platforms, both hardware and software, in the period to 2018, and the economic benefits carriers expect to gain from the new networks. Based on analysis of current cutting edge deployments as well as the future plans of operators and the ecosystem, the report provides market sizes, forecasts and capex values for the key elements of the new RAN - cells of all sizes, carrier Wi-Fi, C-RAN servers, and important network software categories such as SON and NFV.

Executive summary

As mobile operators face rising capex bills to meet mobile data demand combined with falling ARPU, they are turning to radical new network designs. The end result of the new approach will be a dramatic refocusing of spending and M&A towards software, and a shift from capex to opex spending, driven by trends like shared RAN and managed services.


Mobile operators are facing a period when users will consume up to 32 times more wireless data by 2018, requiring massive increases in network capacity; but in which ARPU will rise by only 2.5%. A network design which delivers substantial, and well-targeted, capacity, while slashing cost of delivery, is essential to any business model. No single solution will provide all the answers, and carriers will use a combination of tools including Wi-Fi offload, small cells, distributed and cloud-based RANs, and LTE-Advanced upgrades. Software intelligence will be critical and the period will see the complete reworking of the OSS (operations support system); convergence with the BSS and IT platforms; and the start of a significant uptake of software defined networking, particularly NFV (Network Functions Virtualization).

The move towards HetNet:

The dramatic new approach to RAN planning will both drive, and be enabled by, the availability of new generation optimization and OSS tools. Operators need a complex mixture of cell sizes, spectrum bands and technologies to meet mobile data demands at manageable cost, and this will drive them towards a HetNet (heterogenous network) in which all these elements can be seamlessly combined to form a common pool of flexibly deliverable capacity.

The HetNet enablers which will receive the greatest investment during 2013-2018 will be:

  • Small cells. Although public access small cells will see more gradual uptake than initially expected in 2013-2014, the pace will pick up from 2015. Key drivers will be full availability of SoC-based options; easier deployment via LTE-A standards like eICIC; and integration with carrier-class Wi-Fi.
  • New macro layer technologies including Cloud-RAN, and 'supercells', which rely on enhancing the capacity and flexibility of a macro site through antenna and software upgrades, potentially delaying the need to invest in metrocells.
  • Conversion of 2G and 3G sites to multimode flexible RAN sites, enabled by spectrum refarming, and developments in wideband antennas and multimode technologies.
  • LTE-Advanced - or at least, key elements of the complex set of standards - will be adopted far more quickly than initially predicted. Some of its components are critical enablers of an affordable and interoperable HetNet, including carrier aggregation; CoMP to maximize macrocell performance and work with C-RAN; and advanced MIMO.
  • VoLTE - Voice over LTE, after a slow start, will gain significant momentum from late 2014 as carriers start to switch off some 2G/3G systems and seek to hold onto voice and messaging revenues by delivering rich services. VoLTE will almost always be deployed as the starting point for a broad rich communications services platform and, as well as being a significant area of investment in its own right, will drive enhancements to mobile core elements such as Diameter signaling routers, needed to handle signaling load efficiently and support roaming.

Shift in budgets to opex and software

Full software defined networking (SDN) will be a decade or more in development for carriers, but there will be significant moves towards this during 2013-2018. In particular, the survey of operators found that there will be rapid acceptance of NFV from 2015, and an increasing participation of major cellcos in open source movements such as OpenStack, as they seek to optimize such platforms for carrier requirements.

More immediately, the main two trends which will transform operator spending in software will be the evolution of a new OSS geared to small cells and HetNet, and the convergence of systems which have traditionally lived in data centers, such as billing, with real time network data and tools, such as prepaid charging. These two developments will see massive upheaval in the BSS/OSS community and bring far more suppliers into the heart of the RAN.

All this will drive the rebalancing of carriers' network budgets from hardware - which is starting to commoditize, at the cell site though not the data center - to software, which provides greater potential for competitive edge. There will also be a significant shift from capex-driven to opex-driven spending. As HetNets become increasingly complex, many carriers will look to outsource some or all of their network activities, in deals ranging from conventional managed services agreements, to more specific arrangements like SCaaS (small cell as a service).

Impact on ecosystem:

All these important elements of network investment will, to a greater or lesser extent, spark upheaval in the traditional supplier ecosystem. At the top end, IT giants like Cisco and Oracle will go up against Ericsson and the others in the RAN itself, not just in the data center.

With a rising number of network functionalities required for efficient performance, there will also be more specialist providers, which will in turn be the catalyst for a round of M&A among the major players.

The report identifies the key vendors in each of the key areas of RAN evolution and analyzes the changing competitive landscape. The most disruptive areas are identified as:

  • The new base station. Differentiation and value will focus on different types of antennas and those firms which develop them, particularly new forms of DAS (distributed antenna system), MIMO and emerging standards like AAS (Active Antenna System). The price and profit for traditional base stations will be squeezed by moves to virtualized basebands and very small cells but there will be new opportunities too. The most immediate will be for suppliers of carrier-grade Wi-Fi equipment, which will be integrated into HetNets; and providers of fully integrated SoC (system-on-chip) platforms for small cells. In some cases, traditional suppliers will succeed in leading the way in these areas, but in others they will have to work with, or acquire, new entrants in order to retain their dominance position in the value chain.
  • The HetNet BSS/OSS. The OSS trends outlined above, including IT convergence and HetNet management, will open opportunities for IT-oriented majors and for start-ups which have led in strategic areas such as SON, geolocation, advanced analytics and dynamic management tools.


Although there are a few leading operators which are driving the roll-out of new approaches such as C-RAN, most carriers will only make major investments in HetNet technologies once there is a broad ecosystem to drive down prices and boost confidence. Standards will be critical for this, and for ensuring interoperability to support roaming and the dream of multivendor HetNets.

The most important standards during this period will be:

  • Specifications making it simpler and less costly to roll out massive networks of small cells, including LTE-Advanced options like eICIC and work from the Small Cell Forum
  • Standards to support cellular/Wi-Fi interworking and integration, such as Next Generation Hotspot, Passpoint and ANDSF.
  • Other key elements of LTE-Advanced (3GPP Releases 9 and 10), which will be adopted very rapidly, such as CoMP, carrier aggregation and 4x4 MIMO. Just as many 3G networks did not deliver their full commercial and performance potential until upgraded to HSPA+, so the same will be true of LTE, but with a far smaller gap between adoption of the two generations than was typical in W-CDMA.


All the trends outlined above will reshape the way RANs are deployed and the ecosystem that supports them. The changes will be gradual, but will have a profound ripple effect throughout the mobile broadband community, both operators and vendors. The report provides a full set of forecasts for the various types of base station, including metrocells, macrocells, C-RAN and carrier Wi-Fi, and for the most important software elements of the new RAN.

An important element of the forecast, and of carrier LTE planning, will be the allocation of spectrum and the addition of new spectrum sources via refarming and unlicensed bands.


The 1.8GHz GSM band and the 700MHz band (Asia-Pacific band plan) will emerge as the dominant areas of the licensed spectrum for LTE, as the graph shows, but there will also be considerable disruptive effect from rising use of unlicensed frequencies; spectrum sharing in areas like TV white spaces or government bands; and the beginnings of dynamic spectrum allocation on-demand, as also being piloted in the white spaces. Already in 2013, mobile operators will derive 22% of the additional capacity they deploy from Wi-Fi spectrum rather than licensed options.

Despite the focus on software, there will still be hefty investment, totaling $22.4bn in 2018, in cell site hardware as operators continue to upgrade to LTE and introduce dense HetNets. Public access small cells will pick up significantly from the second half of 2014 and hit 7.5m unit sales in 2018, with 75% of those cells integrating Wi-Fi.

Meanwhile, overall macro layer deployments will fall gradually after 2014, with negative CAGR of 10% in the period, but there will be growth opportunities in certain areas such as Cloud-RAN and smart antennas. For instance, AAS (Active Antenna System), after a slow start, will grow at just over 100% a year even in a declining macro BTS market.

LTE, carrier Wi-Fi and HetNet are the main drivers of network investment. By 2018, 94% of new base stations deployed will be LTE or 4G multimode, and 95% of those will support some features of LTE-Advanced, most commonly carrier aggregation, CoMP and eICIC.

Table of Contents

Executive summary

Methodology and definitions

Introduction: Outline of key trends in mobile networks to 2018

  • Drivers of the new network
  • A combination of solutions required
  • The rise of software in the network

1. The composition of the new-look RAN

  • Key methods of boosting data capacity
    • Licensed spectrum
    • Technology upgrades
    • Network software and intelligence
    • New topologies
  • Small cell adoption trends
  • Carrier Wi-Fi in the mobile network
  • The new macro layer: C-RAN and Super Macro
    • Flexible RAN and modernization
    • VoLTE
    • LTE-Advanced adoption

2. Shifts in the MNO budgets to software and opex

  • Key software to make sense of HetNet
  • The new OSS and SON
  • NFV and SDN progress

3. Significant RAN ecosystem shifts 2013-2018

  • Base station ecosystem changes
  • Metrocell suppliers
  • Base station chips
  • Antennas - AAS and DAS
  • SON ecosystem in flux

4. Spectrum issues:

5. RAN infrastructure forecasts 2012-2018

  • Small cells
  • Carrier Wi-Fi
  • Small cell capex
  • Macro layer site forecasts
  • Macrocell capex
  • Detailed breakdown of macro sites
  • Cloud-RAN

Conclusion: Towards "5G"

List of figures:

  • The mismatch between required capacity and additional revenue to 2018
  • Percentage contribution of key technology tools to data capacity increase
  • Sources of new data capacity as percentage of total
  • Contribution of air interface upgrade to capacity increase
  • Impact of HetNet on mobile data costs and revenues
  • Patterns of adoption of small cells to 2018
  • Obstacles to small cell deployment
  • Operator confidence in industry response to their small cell concerns
  • Carrier Wi-Fi's adoption in MNO networks 2013-2018
  • New vs modernized macro site deployments 2012-2018
  • Adoption of LTE-Advanced by key feature 2013-2018
  • The shift in RAN spending from hardware to software to 2018
  • Forecast capex spend on network software (OSS, SON, policy) to 2018
  • The three types of SON
  • NFV and SDN compared
  • Adoption of SDN and NFV by MNOs to 2018
  • Competitive positioning of major RAN players in key disruptive areas
  • HetNet ecosystem diagram
  • Base station chip ecosystem diagram
  • Adoption of AAS by numbers of sites 2014-2018
  • Adoption of DAS in Cloud-RAN sites 2013-2018
  • Base station antenna ecosystem diagram
  • FD-LTE macro base stations by spectrum band 2012-2018
  • TD-LTE macro base stations by spectrum band 2012-2018
  • Small cell deployments 2012-2018
  • By region
  • By technology
  • By TDD/FDD mode
  • By indoor/outdoor
  • Carrier Wi-Fi hotspot deployment by region 2012-2018
  • Small cell deployment by Wi-Fi/cellular or single-mode to 2018
  • Small cell capex forecast 2012-2018
  • Small cell capex by technology 2012-2018
  • New macro layer sites deployed by region 2012-2018
  • New sites vs modernized macro sites 2012-2018
  • Total macrocell capex forecast 2012-2018
  • Capex breakdown by new, upgraded and software-updated sites
  • New macro layer sites deployed 2012-2018 by technology
  • New LTE macrocell deployments by TDD/FDD mode 2012-2018
  • New macrocell deployments by base station type 2012-2018
  • Cloud-RAN primary sites deployed 2013-2018
  • Cloud-RAN primary sites deployed by region 2013-2018
  • Cloud-RAN subsites deployed 2013-2018
  • MIMO antennas deployed in macro base stations 2012-2018
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