WIA Report Explores How Mobile Network Operators Are Addressing the Insatiable Demand for Mobile Broadband

The wireless industry is taking significant steps to address the coming economic and technological challenge of satisfying America’s unquenchable thirst for mobile data, according to a new report from the Wireless Infrastructure Association (WIA). The paper, titled Feeding the Beast:  How Mobile Operators are Racing to Keep Up with Insatiable Demand for Mobile Broadband, features a collection of articles examining new wireless technologies and the issues facing the wireless infrastructure industry. Produced by WIA’s Innovation & Technology Council (ITC) and its Data Crunch Working Group, the report covers a variety of topics designed to educate industry professionals, policymakers, and the public.

Americans are increasingly relying on mobile devices as their predominant method of getting online. As a result, traffic on mobile networks has grown exponentially over the past decade and this growth shows no sign of abating. This report explores how stakeholders in the wireless ecosystem are addressing this demand for mobile data. Network optimization efforts, densification strategies, new spectrum and new technologies are among the issues discussed.

“Subscriber connections, smartphone penetration rates, and data consumption on fourth-generation (4G) LTE networks have set record highs each year,” said Bernard Borghei, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of Operations at Vertical Bridge, and Chair of WIA’s Data Crunch Working Group. “While the wireless sector is working to meet this demand by filling in 4G coverage gaps and rolling out next generation 5G technology, the industry will also need new spectrum to come to market—at several different frequencies—as well as new deployment strategies in order to achieve this.”

“America is facing an economic and technological challenge to meet consumers’ increasing demand for mobile data while keeping up with the network’s capacity to deliver it. This explosive growth in data demand is both encouraging and sobering at the same time,” WIA President and CEO Jonathan Adelstein said. “This wireless data crunch underscores the need for policymakers and the wireless industry to work together on policies that consider the growing demand for mobile data and address the challenges of meeting it by efficiently deploying wireless infrastructure.”

The paper notes that “sensible policies must be implemented that make placement of towers, small cells, fiber and DAS equipment as efficient as possible. To make this evolution possible, all aspects of the wireless networks and technologies will be called upon. From core virtualization, C-RAN and Edge computing, to massive fiber deployment, deployment of low-, mid-, and high-band frequencies in HetNet architectures, and many other features and solutions will be needed to meet the challenges of the data tsunami that is coming.”

Members of the ITC Data Crunch Working Group who contributed to the white paper include Ray Hild, Triangle Advisory Group; Ray La Chance, ZenFi; Todd Landry, JMA Wireless; Joe Mullin, InSite Wireless Group; Steve Noonan and Jose Sangiuliano, Cheytec Telecommunications. The ITC is chaired by Jim Lockwood, Aero Solutions Group.

A copy of Feeding the Beast: How Mobile Operators are Racing to Keep Up with Insatiable Demand for Mobile Broadband and other industry research can found on WIA’s website.