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Towards the end of capacity constraints: traffic, spectrum and site density in the 5G era

24 March 2021 | Research

Rupert Wood Michela Venturelli

Strategy report | PPTX and PDF (20 slides) | Wireless Infrastructure


"Densification and new frequencies should be viewed as new revenue opportunities, rather than means of meeting demand."

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5G build-out represents an inflexion point: network loading relative to total capacity will begin to fall. Investment based solely on projected mobile traffic growth will become harder to justify as networks become less stress-loaded. In this report, we show how this is happening and suggest that new approaches to further investment in the fundamentals of spectrum and sites are required.

Key questions answered in this report

  • How many physical sites do operators have?
  • What is the actual state of cell densification? Where have operators done the most?
  • How much useable spectrum do operators have?
  • How stressed/loaded are operators’ networks before and after physical sites are taken into account? How should this affect operators’ commercial strategies?

The three axes of investment when adding capacity to a mobile network

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