Spectrum break-down for South Africa's mobile networks

Geoff.D

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#21
That is why sorting out the DTT migration is so important. It frees up lower frequency bands for redeployment, allowing the better utilisation of spectrum.
 

quovadis

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#22
That is why sorting out the DTT migration is so important. It frees up lower frequency bands for redeployment, allowing the better utilisation of spectrum.
Lower frequency bands don't translate to higher bandwidth applications which is why 5G requires high frequency bands and denser implementations.
 

Swa

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#24
Adding to that, 5G technically requires more towers in a much more dense configuration due to the requirement for higher frequency allocations which have less coverage to begin with. So it could be argued that higher frequency spectrum should be made available but I'm not sure that more towers translates to more savings. It only really makes sense in the reduction of cost when more low frequency allocation is made available which translates to less towers servicing a larger area - then perhaps this is the argument.
That's what's so fascinating about this whole thing and how people have been duped into not knowing the difference. It's only the lower frequencies that will result in cost savings but those have been mostly allocated already. The major issue is that operators should refarm and stop supporting older technologies like 2G.
 

Johnatan56

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#25
That's what's so fascinating about this whole thing and how people have been duped into not knowing the difference. It's only the lower frequencies that will result in cost savings but those have been mostly allocated already. The major issue is that operators should refarm and stop supporting older technologies like 2G.
3G* is more likely to be switched off as 2G to 3G migration for most is more difficult than 3G to LTE. 3G is usually handsets and stuff, which has a "quick" cycle, the stuff still on 2G is usually legacy services.

From: https://mybroadband.co.za/news/cellular/222730-2g-networks-in-south-africa-arent-going-anywhere.html
“I cannot see us switching off 2G even in the long term,” said Vodacom chief technology officer Andries Delport.


He said Vodacom has around 30 million devices active on its network every month, of which 40%-45% are 2G-only.

Around 8 million devices on its network are “green screen” phones – low cost or old devices handed down from one person to the next – said Delport.
So even removing those ancient things, there are 13-8 = 5 million 2G embedded devices, probably with most of them still going strong (just think of the undying Nokia).

2017 though, so numbers should be different now.

I found this interesting tidbit:
The range of the signals is the same, the radio waves don’t care what they are being used for.
However, the usable range of the signals are different. GSM requires a stronger signal than LTE in order to function, so the usable range of LTE for the same frequency is further. This is because as time has progressed, the signals used for the transmission of data have become more developed, for example they have improved error protection capabilities, and the transmitter/receiver have benefited from further technological advantages such as better/more antennas, improved hardware.
  • GSM needs an RSSI power level of -113 dBm
  • UMTS minimum = -116 dBm
  • LTE minimum - lower than -120 dBm
Source: Signalstärke messen und interpretieren
A difference in power level of 3dB is a doubling of power, so UMTS works on half the power of 2G, and LTE will work with signal levels less than a 1/4 of GSM.
Due to the inverse square law of radio propagation, a 1/4 reduction in the required power means that the range is doubled.
So, all things being equal, an LTE cell can be used from twice as far away as a similar GSM cell.
Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the case in real usage - most cells are not placed widely apart for coverage, but they are squashed close together for capacity. You’ll probably never get far enough away from the average base station in the network to notice the usage difference.
https://www.quora.com/If-both-2G-an...pectrum-is-the-range-of-both-signals-the-same
And going to his source since Quora, just quoting the numbers:
GSM: `RSSI [dBm] = (2x ASU) – 113` so -113.
UMTS: `RSSI [dBm] = (2x ASU) – 116 ` so -116.
LTE: `RSRP [dBm] = ASU – 140 ` so -140.

There are some nice tables that correspond ASU/RSRP if you're generally intered in the values/quality between the different technologies.

So note that 2G/3G/4G does not increase the range, it's just that as the algorithms/protocols etc. got better we're able to do more with worse signal.

As an aside in regards to spectrum:
As an example of better coverage, UMTS900 can increase areas served per Node-B between 44% (in urban areas) and 119% (rural areas) when compared with UMTS2100. This difference in performance lets operators economically provide 3G applications over much greater areas.In terms of cost, the lower propagation loss at 900 MHz means fewer base stations. Compared to networks using the 2100 MHz core-band 3G spectrum, costs can be 50 to 70% less. Operators can provide less densely populated areas with 3G services more cost-effectively.
https://www.viavisolutions.com/en-u...s-challenges-and-solutions-white-paper-en.pdf
Though above should not be taken at face value, just as an indication, since they deal with selling technologies to help with spectrum refarming.

@rpm should pay me to write an article, and then @Paul Hjul to supervise me. :p
 
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Swa

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#26
3G* is more likely to be switched off as 2G to 3G migration for most is more difficult than 3G to LTE. 3G is usually handsets and stuff, which has a "quick" cycle, the stuff still on 2G is usually legacy services.

I found this interesting tidbit:

And going to his source, just quoting the numbers:
GSM: `RSSI [dBm] = (2x ASU) – 113` so -113.
UMTS: `RSSI [dBm] = (2x ASU) – 116 ` so -116.
LTE: `RSRP [dBm] = ASU – 140 ` so -140.

There are some nice tables that correspond ASU/RSRP if you're generally intered in the values/quality between the different technologies.

So note that 2G/3G/4G does not increase the range, it's just that as the algorithms/protocols etc. got better we're able to do more with worse signal.
There's no country I'm aware of where that's been the case though and there's been plenty of 2G networks switched off. If you switch off 3G you actually throw a lot of people back onto 2G when you should be upgrading them to 3G instead. Legacy devices have been the standard operator excuse when the real issue is that they're not interested (apart from Telkom) in upgrading rural areas to 3G.
 

Johnatan56

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#27
There's no country I'm aware of where that's been the case though and there's been plenty of 2G networks switched off. If you switch off 3G you actually throw a lot of people back onto 2G when you should be upgrading them to 3G instead. Legacy devices have been the standard operator excuse when the real issue is that they're not interested (apart from Telkom) in upgrading rural areas to 3G.
Norway: https://www.mobileworldlive.com/fea...or-norway-shut-3g-network-2020-five-years-2g/
Most IoT will jump 2G->4G/5G, 2G will be around for a while longer, probably with multiple operators sharing/co-operating/having a roaming agreement.
 

Johnatan56

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#29
Ok that's one among the dozens of others.
Then Vodacom, MTN.

We haven't hit the dates yet, and I doubt we'll see a single country in the world with no 2G coverage within the next decade (for countries that already have it), just have either roaming agreements or force people to shift providers.

Most providers haven't even announced proper plans.

I think there are maybe a dozen providers across the world that have given proper firm dates for 2G removal, and in every one of those cases there is an alternative provider/roaming agreement (btw Telkom is switching off 2G end of year, https://techcentral.co.za/telkom-to-switch-off-its-2g-network/85150/, they have 250k 2G devices / 8 million based on that article. A far cry from VC/MTN numbers, with Telkom 2G users to roam on Vodacom).
 

Swa

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#30
That would still make the exception. Telkom is planning switching off 2G later this year.

We haven't hit the dates yet, and I doubt we'll see a single country in the world with no 2G coverage within the next decade (for countries that already have it), just have either roaming agreements or force people to shift providers.

Most providers haven't even announced proper plans.

I think there are maybe a dozen providers across the world that have given proper firm dates for 2G removal, and in every one of those cases there is an alternative provider/roaming agreement.
https://www.emnify.com/blog/global-2g-phase-out

It looks like there are quite a lot of countries with virtually no 2G left.
 

Johnatan56

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#31
That would still make the exception. Telkom is planning switching off 2G later this year.
Erm, I wrote that in my post?
https://www.emnify.com/blog/global-2g-phase-out
It looks like there are quite a lot of countries with virtually no 2G left.
A lot? Europe has 5 countries listed there, there are 44.
Let's just take Norway, you have Telenor GSM (2G) in 2025, Telenor UMTS (3G) in 2020, and Telia UMTS (3G) in 2021.
That leaves:
Telenor GPRS, EDGE (though the question here is whether they specify base GSM as one technology or group GPRS, EDGE and GSM together when they are "evolutions", all marketing)
Netcom GSM (900/1800MHZ), above, UMTS.
Tele2 GSM (900), above.
That's 3/4 providers with a 2G technology, 2 with GSM specifically (Btw you do know EDGE is 2G, right?).

There are way more countries than that list. Most who have mass switched off 2G or are in the process of doing so have either:
1. Not really using a lot of IoT devices (think lack of public transit, most trackers are 2G)
2. Have one or two alternative carriers that can take the full load (Telkom -> Vodacom)

This is the end of this discussion for me unless you raise an actual point that is not a rehash again, since most discussions with you end up like that.
 

Swa

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#32
Well what can I say. I've provided it earlier as well as now. There are dozens of operators the world over that have already switched off 2G and an ever increasing number are joining in over the next few years.

The key issue here is in phasing it out. All of those operators have done something in order to support or replace devices on older technologies years in advance rather than just announcing it will be switched off tomorrow. Taiwan and Thailand's major operators are definitely not roaming on the smaller operators as it was probably the other way around. It's nice to see that Telkom is doing it. That edit wasn't there btw as you can see from my quote. ;) Roaming is a consideration for the near future if they decommission sites earlier but as I understand it when comes the switch off there will be no roaming either.
 
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