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Indoor solutions as a part of cellular mobile networks’ planning have been used for years in a way to fulfill the lack of an admissible coverage while subscribers experienced using cellular phones indoors. On the other hand, network sharing is a commonly used solution for mobile operators in order to lower their network capital and operational expenditures; that has also commonly been used for Distributed Antenna System (DAS) solutions in indoor deployments. Besides sharing, outsourcing network operation and maintenance has also been widely accepted by wireless carriers all around the world after that IT outsourcing flow, which started in late 90s, seemed to be quite promising for lowering operational costs.
The raise of new technologies in this domain that always promise higher, better and more to subscribers, little by little started to become worrisome since operators began to experience lower revenues from voice services during last couple of years as well as higher demand of capacity. As a result, operators started considering deploying indoor networks as a part of their planned network, with regard to the fact that during recent years the femtocell technology became the hot topic for smallcell deployments. This way, MNOs could exploit benefits of covering customers indoors efficiently as well as offloading mobile data traffic from macro cellular networks. But a question rose afterwards; why sharing and outsourcing in smallcell networks have not taken off yet? as they have been commonly used in macro cellular networks and DAS solutions?
In this MSc thesis, cooperation between different actors of the shared indoor mobile network ecosystem is studied by investigating both possible sharing models and the concept of outsourcing network operation and management for smallcell networks. This investigation has been done based on femtocells as the most suitable technology both for better coverage and higher capacity. During this process, different roles of actors in the ecosystems, the business relations between them and the main drivers of sharing were studied as well as discussing the main beneficiary of sharing, in order to find different types of cooperation and correlation in the ecosystem.
The main research questions in the thesis revolve around absence of sharing either active or passively in indoor mobile networks as well as outsourcing network operation and management. Eventually, a series of possible deployment models for shared and outsourced indoor mobile networks are presented where they have been tried to be verified by a number of use cases. As a result, this study proposes a set of recommendations for different possible operators in the ecosystem in order to formulate a profitable business model for them. These recommendations are believed to enable taking off sharing and outsourcing in smallcell networks.
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