Location Intelligence

A telecom operator’s guide to selecting a 5G cell site with Location Intelligence

Learn how telecom operators are beating the competition by leveraging a location intelligence platform.

A public-private consortium has already pumped in $400 million for 5G research in Canada. How are telecom operators moving forward?

The next-generation wireless network, or 5G, is being hailed as a quantum leap in telecommunications technology which will make download speeds 100 times faster than present-day. But 5G is not about streaming 4K movies in a flash alone. The technology will bring major advances in sectors that rely heavily on real-time data (finance, utilities, transportation, public safety, etc.) as well as connected industries like the Internet of Things and self-driving cars.

So, it’s no surprise that the governments of Canada, Ontario and Quebec are joining hands with private companies like Ericsson, Ciena Canada, Thales Canada, IBM and CGI to create a $400-million 5G research fund. This investment will be used to set-up an array of research labs which will test products and services running on 5G networks.

To be clear, 5G mass deployment in the Canadian market is not expected until 2020. This is because 5G requires an infrastructure which is vastly different from past wireless technologies.

5G Infrastructure: Robust and Extensive

5G is fueled by small-cell technology. Its main component is as small as a shoebox and the accompanying hardware no bigger than a refrigerator. This is the same tech that powers 4G, but on a very small scale. 5G requires 10 to 100 times more antenna locations than those needed by 4G or 3G networks, simply because its signals cannot travel as far as old radio frequencies can.

To draw an analogy, imagine 5G as an e-commerce giant. Instead of trying to cater to a wide region with a single central warehouse, it spreads out its inventory into small dispatch units. So, when the holiday season comes and orders go up, it is able to serve customers much more quickly and efficiently. Similarly, in the 5G universe, if one cell site is compromised, other cell sites help to meet the demand.

5G cell site selection

Since Canadian telecom operators will be investing quite heavily into 5G antennas, foolproof cell site selection is a necessity rather than a choice. Here, a location intelligence platform can prove to be a telecom business’ best friend because it can help the business to identify 5G cell sites based on definitive criteria, such as:

Population Density

In order to maximize network coverage and make sure their investment would get the highest possible returns, telecom operators would want to install 5G antennas at places that have a large number of residents. These population clusters can be clearly mapped by a location intelligence platform. Moreover, telecom companies would also get access to detailed insights on population growth trends, which would allow them to future-proof their plans.

Existing Clientele

With network providers racing to take the lead in 5G rollout and adoption, it is imperative for them to know where exactly their existing clients are and upsell 5G to them. Not only can precise location information help make this process a breeze, but network providers would also be able to enhance customer satisfaction and build greater loyalty for their brand.

Demographics

5G is expensive, we have already established that. And even though telecoms may not have finalized the rates at which they will offer the technology to the end consumer, it makes good business sense to invest in the area which houses an affluent population. A location intelligence platform can help telecoms zero down on hotspots of high median income effortlessly.

Points of Interest

Progressive telecom companies know the importance of tapping into points of interest (POI) data to supplement their revenues. A location may be in the suburbs, but if it frequently plays host to large-scale events or music festivals, telecoms would want to make sure their services are available in that area. Visualizing these POIs on the map can help companies make sure they don’t lose out on business from these high-demand sites.

Accessibility

An important factor that simply cannot be ignored while selecting cell site locations to deploy the 5G infrastructure is the accessibility of that place. Uninterrupted service can only be assured if the technical team has uninterrupted access to a cell site. Here, a location intelligence platform can assist by mapping out all possible 24/7 entry and exit options for the crew.

Local Laws

Proper knowledge and understanding of zoning regulations and local laws are imperative for a smooth 5G rollout. Instead of scrambling for information from different sources, network providers can easily use a location intelligence platform to collate various laws, and draw out insights like which sites allow installations for commercial use at the click of a button.

While there is no doubt that 5G is inflaming a technological revolution in Canada, the market is completely up for grabs. It would be interesting to see which progressive telecom operator beats the competition by leveraging a location intelligence platform loaded with rich data and unparalleled insights.

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