More fibre for next-generation mobile broadband backhaul

Date: February 23, 2010
Pages: 19
US$ 1,495.00
Publisher: Ovum
Report type: Strategic Report
Delivery: E-mail Delivery (PDF)

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More fibre for next-generation mobile broadband backhaul
Considerable hype surrounds LTE and, in particular, its capability to offer 100Mbps speeds wirelessly. If such performance levels are offered to customers, mobile operators would inevitably require significant backhaul capabilities at the cell site. In this report we give examples of how a number of operators of different types (mobile-only operators, integrated players or wholesalers) position fibre as one way to address the backhaul issues associated with mobile broadband.
Executive summary
In a nutshell
Ovum view
Key messages
In dense areas, fibre has the shoulders to become the physical media of choice for cellular backhaul
No ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution: Fibre will not be the sole solution for cellular backhaul
Fibre-based backhaul can leverage other operators’ fibre investment, generating interesting synergies
Fibre-based backhaul is an appealing market opportunity for wholesalers
Fibre is likely to play an increasingly important role for mobile broadband backhaul
Why consider fibre for mobile backhaul?
A simple rule: The higher the speed, the greater the impact on traffic generation
Pros and cons of fibre for wireless backhaul
Fibre is the physical media of choice but not the sole solution
Many operators adopted fibre initiatives for cellular backhaul
Examples of operators’ fibre backhaul initiatives in all geographies
Potential synergies between FTTH and fibre backhaul programs for integrated players
PCCW’s ‘Next Gen’ programme in Hong Kong
Verizon Wireless in the US
Telecom New Zealand
Mobile-only players are more exposed to backhaul cost pressure than incumbents or integrated operators with large wireline footprint
Mobile-only players need to purchase capacity from wireline players, which may impact their P&L for mobile broadband
To contain mobile backhaul costs, mobile-only players can choose between different strategies
Enlarged fibre-based cellular backhaul business opportunity for wholesalers
Many wholesalers launched dedicated fibre-fed cellular backhaul services
Examples of fibre Ethernet backhaul services
BT Wholesale in the UK
Many initiatives in the US


Table 1: Theoretical download speeds of mobile broadband technologies
Table 2: Examples of fibre backhaul initiatives
Table 3: Selected fibre backhaul agreements of T-Mobile USA
Table 4: Examples of US wholesalers or backhaul specialists offering fibre-based backhaul services


Figure 1: Examples of mobile data traffic evolution
Figure 2: Examples of solutions for mobile backhaul
Figure 3: Example of GPON reuse for mobile backhaul
Figure 4: PCCW’s ‘Next Gen’ network programme
Figure 5: Verizon Wireless’s mobile data traffic forecasts
Figure 6: Mobile One’s (M1) cost of sales (in S$ million)
Figure 7: Vodafone’s traffic growth in Europe (petabytes per quarter)
Figure 8: FiberTower’s backhaul service architecture
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