Telecommunications solutions firm CommScope senior executives Malaysia's country manager Asmadi Aziz and Wireless APAC, base station antennas product line manager David White spoke with Computerworld Malaysia on how the country's mobile operators are faring with the quest to deliver better network quality and customer experience or QoS [quality of service].
Photo - David White, Product Line manager, Base Station Antennas, Wireless APAC, CommScope
Could you give your views on the mobile operator scenario in Malaysia today and how this compares with other scenes?
David White: In Malaysia, and also globally, there has been a dramatic increase in mobile data use fuelled by the uptake of smartphones and tablet devices. Where we talked about bytes with SMS, we're talking megabytes or more with streaming videos, emails with attachments and more.
Operators are now struggling to meet the exponential capacity growth on their networks and have to look at ways to stay ahead of consumers' voracious appetite for data. Consumers expect a very high quality of service and are unwilling to tolerate dropped calls, slow connection and download speeds.
A report by Ericsson on "Smartphone Usage Experience and the importance of network quality and its impact on user satisfaction" noted that "fast connection to the Internet" and "mobile 3G coverage" were the strongest drivers of network satisfaction. So a major challenge for Malaysian (and global) operators is how best to provide for this increase in demand for bandwidth and speed.
The simple answer is to add more cell sites/towers or load their existing sites with more equipment but this in itself poses a few new challenges. For one, cell sites are increasingly difficult to come by, particularly in urban areas. And then even if you do secure a site, a new tower in one's neighbourhood isn't necessarily what most people want to see when they look out of their windows.
While every subscriber wants seamless coverage and capacity, operators are also increasingly encountering NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) when it comes to new cell sites. In dense urban areas it can be extremely difficult to add additional base stations, given the rarity and expense of appropriate real estate.
The other traditional solution of loading existing sites with more equipment isn't something that's always feasible. There's a limit to how much load each tower can take and eventually you do run out of space to add more equipment.
Photo - Asmadi Aziz, Country Manager, Malaysia, CommScope.
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