Aircom: Big capex savings comes to operators who deploy HSPA+ now

Network planning firm Aircom International is arguing that HSPA+ technology makes better short-term commercial sense for UMTS/HSPA operators as they contemplate their strategies for migrating to the next generation of mobile broadband networks.

Based on its own analysis of network infrastructure requirements, Aircom said HSPA+ is a compelling alternative to Long Term Evolution (LTE) because the technology's deployment offers significantly reduced capital expenditure investment compared with LTE. For a US operator, for instance, that capex reduction for AT&T or T-Mobile could be as much as $1.19 billion. In the UK, that capex savings is about $500 million. Most importantly, Aircom said HSPA+ can meet the demand for faster data services and increased capacity--the reasons operators are moving to LTE.

HSPA+ technology offers up to 21Mbps without any additional antenna infrastructure or second carrier - allowing users to experience mobile broadband around five times faster than the current average of 3.6Mbps, Aircom said. HSPA+ also allows mobile operators to control service provisioning and prioritisation, delivering Quality of Experience (QoE) and Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees. 

"There is great pressure on operators to upgrade their networks and improve the level of service they deliver to consumers and enterprise customers," said Fabricio Martinez, services director with Aircom. "The so-called ‘iPhone effect' is piling pressure on to existing infrastructure. There is a real and immediate need for operators to upgrade their networks, but LTE is not the answer--today at least."

Aircom predicts HSPA+ will allow operators to see a return on investment in three years, which, by the way, offers the perfect time to upgrade to LTE, when the technology's ecosystem has matured, devices are in the market and the price of equipment has fallen.

T-Mobile USA recently announced it now covers 30 million potential subscribers with HSPA+ (the 21 Mbps version) with plans to cover 100 million by the end of 2010.  AT&T (NYSE:T) recently announced that it now plans to roll out HSPA+ to more than 250 million potential subscribers by 2010. The move is a reversal of the plans it announced last September--that it had no intention of deploying HSPA+ but rather would accelerate its LTE plans.

For more:
- see this Aircom release

Related articles:
T-Mobile USA rolls out HSPA+ in Northeast
AT&T now planning widespread deployment of HSPA+; LTE timeframe stays the same
Aircom: Expensive LTE deployments require more creativity

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