Spectrum Re-Farming: The LTE Imperative

Introduction

Every generation of mobile access technology ultimately brings mobile carriers to a crossroad. At some point, carriers must make a decision to continue to invest in their legacy networks or make a greater commitment to the next generation of access technology. Several factors play into this decision, including economics and competition. Spectrum, however, may be the most important factor.
Many carriers have now reached this crossroad.

Today, unprecedented growth of mobile services–device usage, mobile broadband traffic & applications – is the norm in consumer as well as enterprise markets. To cope with this growth, and to meet the demand that it puts on their wireless network infrastructure, carriers worldwide are considering various combinations of technology generations—2G, 3G & 4G LTE—to deploy, deliver and scale their services.

Mobile Data & Internet Traffic Graph

With LTE maturing at an unprecedented rate since its introduction in 2010, we make the case that carriers should move ahead with LTE investments. Inherent in this evolution is the re-farming of 3G spectrum. The market has reached a critical junction. The rapid adoption of LTE has driven down both device and infrastructure costs, a critical mass of 3G bands are already accommodating LTE deployments, and new network architectures are making re-farming easier and cost-efficient. Delaying on LTE deployments simply because of spectrum resources is becoming harder and harder to justify.

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