Mobile Network Sharing

Conference: Breitbandversorgung in Deutschland - 11. ITG-Fachkonferenz
03/29/2017 - 03/30/2017 at Berlin, Deutschland

Proceedings: Breitbandversorgung in Deutschland

Pages: 9Language: englishTyp: PDF

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Neumann, Karl-Heinz; Plueckebaum, Thomas (WIK-Consult GmbH, Bad Honnef, Germany)

The sharing of passive network elements is a common phenomenon in mobile markets. Some regulatory authorities also support active sharing of the radio access network. More far reaching sharing concepts like the virtualisation of network functions up to network slicing are on the way. Given the need for a significant increase in the number of base stations and sites in a 5 G environment it has to be anticipated that the need for sharing network elements between mobile operators will increase significantly over the next few years. Against this background the paper analyses how regulatory authorities can make the relevant balance between economically desirable cost savings, reduction of the impacts on the population and the environment on the one hand side, and competition implications of network cooperation on the other hand side which could be unfavourable, in order to decide on individual forms of operator co-operation and its intensity. The paper starts from a broad definition of network sharing. The classic forms of mobile network sharing relate to the joint use of passive and/or active network elements. This applies in particular to the joint use of access network infrastructures. Joint use of network infrastructure may, but does not have to, include shared use of frequencies. Although in the case of roaming only the (respective) elements of a network are used, this form of co-operation is in the end equivalent to network sharing. Since the network is defined less by the physical hardware, sharing may also refer to software-determined network functions. The most extensive use of a third party network is in the form of a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) relationship.