Getting good telecom network coverage everywhere has been one of the pressing problems faced by Indian mobile subscribers. While some of that is due to congestion, in other cases it could be due to the lack of equipment in the right place.
That’s an issue that Norway-based Telenor is looking to settle in its Indian operations. As part of the network modernisation, Telenor India which operates in six circles – Andhra Pradesh, UP (East), UP (West), Bihar, Gujarat and Maharashtra – is upgrading 25,000 sites apart from upgrading the transmission network. “Once that is completed, indoor coverage should improve substantially. That will lead to a better data experience too,” says Tanveer Mohammad, chief operating officer, Telenor India Communications.
As part of the network upgrade, Telenor has been swapping the radio network equipment across the 25,000 sites it operates. What that means is that soon it will have a uniform network, which will make it energy efficient. Once that is done, energy expenses would come down from the current 30% to 20%. To improve network quality, Telenor is bringing in data analytics to keep track of the network.
While earlier when a base station goes down, the operator got an alarm. That had to be rectifed. Using data analytics, Telenor be a pro-active company. “We will be having the tools to see where traffic is building up and how the customer experience is. Where there are complaints, it starts creating a heat map. So we know the problem before it starts affecting the customer,” says Mohammad.
Telenor that has largely focussed on GSM-based voice subscribers is now looking to address the data needs of its subscribers. Currently, 23% of its subscribers are accessing the internet. It hopes to raise that to 50% by 2017. As part of the data plan, Telenor has deployed Huawei’s lean GSM solution for mobile broadband in 28 cities across the six circles. Mohammed points out that the solution improves network capacity by over 30% using the same spectrum resources. While Telenor has not yet been aggressive on 4G, it already has over 5MHz of 1800MHz band spectrum in all the six operational circles. In the last auction, it acquired spectrum in Assam too. It can use the liberalized 1800MHz band spectrum to offer high-speed data services in the future. As Mohammad says: “We are really keeping ourselves ready for whatever future opportunity is coming. After the transformation, it will be very easy to adopt whatever upcoming technology is there.”