Business and residential wireless services users in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are very sophisticated and highly mobile. They are also very demanding and expect their service providers to enable them to fully use their mobile devices for such things as on-demand TV and video conferencing at any time and any place. This growing demand has placed pressure on service providers in the Persian Gulf to upgrade their networks to support high-speed data services with low latency and quality of experience (QoE) for all users.
A recent Alcatel-Lucent (News - Alert) Enriching Communications article, Etisalat: The Road to 4G LTE with lightRadio, examined the position of Etisalat (News - Alert), one of the largest telecommunications companies located in the Middle East (a dominant provider in the UAE) and its role in meeting the growing demand for high-speed connections to mobile devices, and doing so at the same time it expanded its coverage area.
It was clear that a build-out of 4G LTE was the solution needed to meet the network expansion and capacity increases, but that Etisalat needed a partner it could rely on for the long-term. To that end, Etisalat signed an innovation and collaboration agreement with Alcatel-Lucent based on the company’s lightRadio™ Metro Radio Outdoor (MRO) portfolio.
The agreement called for the two entities to work together via collaboration groups, trials and validation of the technology. At the same time, the Bell Labs (News - Alert) Business Modeling team conducted a study of the network evolution path within Etisalat to determine the best fit for lightRadio products. This approach was used as a cost saving measure and to ensure the needs of customers could easily be met.
The commercial introduction requirements of the new product family were defined by Etisalat and early tests of the solution demonstrated significant promise for themselves and other service providers seeking to migrate to 4G LTE (News - Alert) with lightRadio. Improvements delivered through this process validated the possibilities of saving as much as 40 percent on operating costs, while also meeting 4G LTE data service quality of service (QoS) and quality of experience (QoE) expectations of potential subscribers.
During the trial stage, Etisalat not only gained experience with how easy it is to deploy the Alcatel-Lucent metrocells, but also how lightRadio deployment for 4G LTE would reduce power consumption, the cost of the operation and the footprint of the equipment. The success of this trial was announced at the Mobile World Congress (News - Alert) 2012 event, marking a significant milestone in turning the promise of lightRadio into reality not just in the Middle East but around the world.
With cellular service providers seeking to extend the reach of their macro cellular networks, move capacity to where the heavy user are, and do so in an eco-friendly and cost-effective manner, the Etisalat tests and the result were significant validation of all aspects of a holistic approach to network migration to next generation capabilities. They showed that even in a geographically challenging environment, small cell solutions deliver on the promise of more capacity at lower cost. Tests are now over and the rollout will commence.
Edited by Peter Bernstein