Techno-economic implications of the mass-market uptake of mobile data services: Requirements for next generation mobile networks
The growth of the mobile data services market is no longer dependent on push strategies from suppliers. On the contrary, demand is now driving the market to the extent that it will not be easy for mobile operating companies to cope up with the demand to come in the near future. Operators are forced to make heavy investments to upgrade and expand their networks, which then squeezes profits, as the evolution of income is not parallel to that of demand. On the other hand, the operators simply cannot refuse to take up the challenge. To decide how to handle the present and upcoming demand, they need to identify and understand the characteristics of the scenarios they face and will be facing. This is precisely the aim of this article, which provides figures on the consequences for mobile infrastructures of a generalised mobile data services uptake. To achieve this, the article collects information about the predicted evolution of different mobile services in the current and coming years and translates those expectations into service requirements. The paper closes with a discussion on the feasibility and the techno-economic implications for practical deployment, imposed by these requisites. Data from the Spanish mobile deployment case have been used to arrive at practical figures and illustration of results, but the conclusions are easily extended to other countries and regions.