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Moving from WiMAX technology to faster,smoother LTE helps a medium-sized Internet Service Provider (ISP) thrive in the highly-competitive Italian market. In the city of Bologna, birthplace of inventor Guglielmo Marconi, radio transmission is again improving the way people get connected.
GO internet S.p.A. is a regional Italian communications provider specializing in broadband telecommunications. The company competes against bigger national operators in northern regions near the Adriatic Sea.
GO’s customers had switched from ADSL Internet, offered by the bigger ISPs, when GO proved it could deliver higher speeds at a more affordable price. Services along the coast and inland hill areas, however, were more difficult to deliver.
In the beginning, GO fought for success in densely populated cities by offering reliable internet speeds via indoor CPEs using WiMAX technology. This proved to be a commercially viable strategy. After successfully operating WiMAX for three years, however, GO needed to upgrade from WiMAX to new wideband wireless technology due to increased pressure on their network capacity.
As major competitors began rolling out nationwide networks, GO knew it could not afford to bet on the wrong technology or wait too long. At the same time, GO realized it needed to offer services to more users in new areas and expand services to problematic areas not previously covered.
GO engineers could not simply install more base stations in the same areas. Sites are expensive to build and frequencies were limited. In addition, interference could cripple subscriber services.
LTE-TDD has quickly surpassed the outdated WiMAX ecosystem.
LTE-TDD delivers greater capacity with higher throughput compared to WiMAX over the same spectrum. It also offers the potential to re-use the same frequency channels in all sectors. An LTE base station can accommodate 450 users, compared to 150 users served by a WiMAX station.
Although an LTE base station is more expensive in absolute terms, ROI is increased because LTE-TDD brings in far more subscribers. The ARPU is also slightly higher since subscribers favor higher throughput.
In 2014, GO and Huawei conducted a test with 3.5 GHz LTE-TDD technology in Bologna, the birthplace of Italian inventor and Nobel Prize winner Guglielmo Marconi. More than 140 years after his birthday, the test reached a connection speed of 100 Mbit/s. The 4T4R and beamforming technology enables stronger indoor coverage, reaching customers that could not connect via WiMAX. Additionally, stronger network performance and better indoor signal reception eliminates the need to install expensive outdoor CPE devices.
“We are very pleased with the LTE results, which were beyond our expectations. This will allow us to speed up the rollout of our network.”
– Alessandro Frizzoni, GO Internet CEO
GO has two frequency blocks of 21 MHz in the regions where it is licensed. If needed, the provider can keep two blocks of 10 MHz for WiMAX while overlaying the LTE network with 20 MHz.
In new areas, or where WiMAX would be swapped, GO can allocate two full blocks of 20 MHz on the 3.5 GHz band for LTE to best serve their customers.
Subscribers who own second homes near the coastal area can temporarily move the CPE to their beach house and enjoy full LTE Internet service during their vacation.
GO was impressed by the rich features provided by Huawei LTE-TDD solutions, which provide strong advantages over older WiMAX technology. Higher speeds and more customers mean greater revenues, a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), and enhanced Return on Investment (ROI).
“As soon as we launched LTE we saw WiMAX users migrating from WiMAX to LTE (which is generating higher ARPU), confirming that the choice we made was the correct one.”
— Alessandro Frizzoni, GO internet CEO
Huawei Enterprise Business Group (“Huawei Enterprise”) is one of three Huawei business groups. Huawei is a leading global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) solutions provider and global solutions partner. Huawei has signed more than 140 LTE-related contracts with ISPs. The company is also active in several LTE associations. Leveraging Huawei’s strong R&D capabilities and comprehensive technical expertise, Huawei Enterprise provides a wide range of highly efficient customer-centric ICT solutions and services to global vertical industries and enterprise customers in the government and public sectors, as well as finance, transportation, electric power, energy, commercial businesses, and ISPs. Huawei Enterprise’s innovative and leading solutions cover network infrastructure, Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C), cloud computing and data center, enterprise information security, and industry application solutions. For more information, please visit: www.enterprise.huawei.com.
GO internet S.p.A. is an Italian company operating in the Mobile Internet industry. Since 2011, GO has offered families and businesses Internet and telephone services using 4th-generation wireless technology (4G). The service is currently offered in the Marche and Emilia-Romagna regions where GO has an exclusive right of use for 42 MHz frequencies for Broadband Wireless Access systems in the 3.5 GHz band.
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