Power users and power locations point to rise of the small cell

Network data in urban areas shows 10% of users and 20% of locations drive 80% of demand. That means operators could take targeted action to relieve 80% of their congestion issues and faults.

Demand for mobile data in urban areas continues to grow 100% year on year, according to data sourced direct from operator networks by Amdocs.

Based on analysis in global cities with high smartphone penetration, network data traffic increased by 100 percent from December 2013 to December 2014. Indoor demand is growing even quicker, tending 20% above overall traffic growth. In volume terms, 80% of all traffic still comes from indoors.

Amdocs also found that live events are increasingly driving network spikes. Sports and music lovers find it increasingly difficult to watch an event without also using phones and the like to upload content, and also to watch coverage of the event they are at. A city hosting a live event may see traffic demand rise overall by 20%, as users come into the city and the city residents themselves chatter about the event.

Amdocs locationBut Amdocs offers hope for mobile operators being able to address this growing demand in an efficient way, by placing targeted capacity solutions into the network. For instance, 10% of users are responsible for 80% of demand. And 20% of locations are responsible for 80% of demand (and problems in the network).

Amdocs RAN issuesAnalytics that can discover these users and locations can allow operators to plan a response – including deploying small cells to boost capacities in congested areas – outside of the obvious hotspots. Fixing the RAN in a targeted manner could bring big performance rewards – with Amdocs root cause analysis finding that 80% of call drops and 50% of data throughput issues are due to problems in the RAN.

Amdocs iPhone 6Not only that – but operators could work on a per user and device level. For instance, Amdocs found that iPhone 6+ users drive 40% more data demand than iPhone 6 users. And Apple users as a whole use 50% more data than Android users.

One solution could be the increased deployment of small cells. Neil Coleman, Director, RAN marketing, Amdocs, told TMN: “The industry has been asking will operators [deploy] or won’t they on small cells? My take is that they will and the reasons are that where we are seeing usage, demand and issues still occurring all points to the next big investment being small cells.”

“We are starting to see operators get more granular and precise in the analysis of where demand is, who’s demanding it and the best solution to fix it. That’s moving [operators] from the well-established macro approach to high precision, high automation to make small cells work for them.”

You can download Amdocs’ full report, 2015 State of the RAN here.