A mobile network operator that plans to roll-out its new LTE network has in principle two options: buy new spectrum or re-farm spectrum already in possession. Based on the tools, know-how and experience in networks’ reconfiguration at DATAX, we believe that well performed re-farming, if accompanied by GSM optimisation (new frequency plan, reconfigurations of parameters, etc.) frees up spectrum for LTE roll-out and leads to the overall improvement of most of the KPIs while keeping the interference under control.
It goes without saying that LTE technology slowly becomes available across the nation after the first products appear on the market. Mobile operators that want to meet market expectations have to start this new technology roll-out process and gain free spectrum. But experience from UMTS history show that investments in a new spectrum in the early stage of LTE market development might not necessarily be the best way. Of course, in the future a dedicated large spectrum block will be required for LTE but at present time re-farming seems to be the best way to obtain spectrum quickly and cheaply. However, as discussed, mature 2G technology will remain for many years an important part of a mobile communication business. Hence, well performed re-farming that will not cause worsening of 2G services is a challenge, but is certainly possible. DATAX is a company that is capable of meeting this challenge and manage cost-effectively re-farming of spectrum to provide room for LTE while keeping GSM services at optimal quality.If re-farming makes so efficient solution for LTE spectrum acquisition and GSM still remains an important technology, the question comes up whether it is possible to “have cake and eat it too”. Basically, it means deploying LTE in the GSM spectrum without compromising 2G network’s quality. In a nutshell, re-farming is a process of removing part of spectrum allocated to GSM (freeing bandwidth for LTE) while reconfiguring appropriate network parameters.