3 UK: Operators should view growth in data demand as tidal, rather than a tsunami

LONDON--Mobile operators should start considering growing demand for data as a rising tide rather than a tsunami of traffic, Mark Gilmour, transmission strategy and architecture manager for 3 UK, said here on day two of the Transport Networks for Mobile Operators trade conference.

Gilmour revealed that 3 UK's network typically experiences a "high tide" of data usage for 19 hours a day, every day, with streaming media topping usage lists and growth in the use of encrypted web browsing as consumers access social media sites including Facebook and Twitter.

3 UK has been replacing legacy network systems since 2007 as it bids to meet the rising tide of data demand, and is also exploring Wi-Fi for data offload, as well as options to provide fibre to the tower (FTTT), be it native dark fibre or fresh deployments.

However, Gilmour said the company needs help from infrastructure vendors and regulators to stay afloat as the tide comes in. "I'm almost appealing to vendors--we're looking for low cost and high performance," he told delegates, adding: "Also regulation. We need help to achieve what we want to."

Gilmour said future mobile networks should give consumers the impression that capacity is infinite--alluding to an earlier presentation by Dr Mehrdad Shariat from the University of Surrey's 5G Innovation Centre.

"We must ensure the capacity is in the right place at the right time," Gilmour noted.

3 is also actively engaged in developing small cell technology, although Gilmour stopped short of committing to a rollout schedule for small cells. He added that millimetre wave technology will feature as part of that wireless element.

The company's architecture and technology evolution will also feature front-haul strategies, and aggregation--particularly around leased lines, Gilmour said.

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