Wireless Blog

The Wireless Blog from Unwired Insight discusses the latest developments in wireless networks and services, including the new technologies and architectures of LTE-Advanced and 5G. For expert advice on 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G mobile systems and standards, including GSM, UMTS, LTE, LTE-Advanced and 5G-NR, please contact us.

Femtocells and broadcasting solutions must rescue 3G networks, says Unwired Insight

With a 20-fold increase in 3G traffic volumes forecast over the next five years, alternative means of delivering services to 3G handsets will be essential in order to prevent major capacity problems, according to Unwired Insight. A new report, entitled ‘Will 3G Networks Cope?’, shows that complementary distribution methods, including femtocells and broadcasting solutions, could collectively carry nearly half of total service traffic by 2014.

“Many 3G network operators are in for a tough time over the next few years,” says co-author Dr Alastair Brydon. “If they don’t now start using complementary distribution methods, such as femtocells and broadcasting networks, 3G networks will not be able to cope with future traffic demand, even with LTE,” he added.

Key findings of the new report are:

  • Vodafone was the first 3G operator in Europe to launch a femtocell product in July 2009, signalling the start of femtocell roll-out in Europe. Indoor wireless systems should be a core part of the delivery platform for 3G operators, and they should use both WLAN and femtocells to deliver services through fixed broadband connections wherever they can. By 2014, indoor systems could deliver 13.8% of total service traffic.
  • Separate TV streams to each 3G user can quickly use up 3G capacity. Despite a slow start, dedicated broadcasting networks, such as DVB-H, can be an effective way of minimising the traffic carried on conventional 3G networks. Also, developments such as eMBMS and IMB provide the option of delivering broadcast services over existing 3G networks. 8% of service usage could be carried by broadcasting solutions by 2014.
  • Sideloading – where content can be transferred from a PC to a mobile phone and stored in its memory – could become an increasingly important method for delivering multimedia content to 3G devices, thereby avoiding the use of conventional 3G networks. More than one-fifth of service usage could be delivered using sideloading by 2014.

“Taken together, indoor systems, broadcasting networks and sideloading could collectively deliver 43% of total service traffic by 2014,” says Alastair Brydon.

The new report published by Unwired Insight addresses one of the biggest concerns within the mobile industry, as to whether 3G networks will be able to cope with future increases in 3G traffic volumes.

The report gets to grips with this critical issue by quantifying how 3G network capacity and 3G traffic will evolve over the next five years. The report contains 120 pages, 29 figures, 18 tables and 30 000 words. For more information, or to buy the report, click here, email contact@unwiredinsight.com or telephone +44 (0) 1480 819391. Dr Alastair Brydon and Dr Mark Heath are authors of more than 40 reports on key issues in the mobile industry.

A free whitepaper associated with the report is available to download from the Unwired Insight website.

Unwired Insight was established in 2001 and provides expert advice on wireless technology, mobile networks, devices and standards, including GSM, GPRS, DECT, UMTS and LTE.

Contact Unwired Insight

Phone Image

+44 (0) 1480 819391

Search the Wireless Blog