Re-engineering backhaul to solve mobile data puzzle

I attended PTC'13 to discuss this topic:

Is the Future of Telcos Mobile or Untethered?"

Here is a good summary of my perspective about the WiFi and LTE-Advanced backhaul issue. See  the article of Petroc Wilton  or below (thanks to Petroc Wilton)

A fresh look at mobile backhaul could be key for operators to cost-effectively keep pace with the mobile data boom, according to a panel at PTC’13. But that could mean some very different approaches to engineering – and even a fresh look at relationships with competitors. Industry consultant Norman Fekrat and NTT DoCoMo R&D MD Dr. Minoru Etoh agreed that Wi-Fi offloading, while easing some of the mobile data load, wasn’t a universally optimal solution. Etoh built on his recent arguments in favour of small cell deployments – but such deployments have implications at the backhaul layer. “Your chance exists in backhaul connections, and last-mile connections using WiMax or wireless connections,” he suggested, for the benefits of operators with both fixed and mobile assets. “Mobile broadband needs to be re-engineered for internet-type economics; the mobile platforms out there, the cell sites, the backhaul needs to be just done over the internet,” added Fekrat, who argued that the economics of wireless should be brought as far as possible in line with those of wireline systems.
“There are some initiatives going on in the industry that are pushing the mobile packet core all the way out to an enterprise small cell, where you connect to the small cell through your mobile connection but all the backhaul’s just done over the enterprise LAN and over the internet. So I think you’re going to see some very creative solutions
that are going to bridge the gap between traditional mobility and some other Wi-Fi offloading mechanisms today to drive profitability.” “The reason why untethered and Wi-Fi exists is really because backhaul is so expensive,” he continued. “And I know this changes in different geographies, but from my perspective, the reason why you connect on a Wi-Fi network and the carriers want you to is because you’re on the internet; you’re not on the carrier mobile packet core network. So once a mobile network operator can create a small cell, or a cell site, where that backhauls over the internet, then you get to a quality of economics. I would suggest or recommend that should be something that should be looked at from an industry perspective.” “To have small cells, maybe 10 or 50m cell sizes, in very high density areas, backhaul [is becoming] a more and more important area to solve,” agreed Etoh. “So the real winner could be real estate companies!”

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