Custom Research

Mobile Network Traffic Modeling

iGR has sophisticated models showing the demand for mobile data traffic for each region of the world, as well as network capacity based on the spectrum available, the number of cell sites, the number of sectors, the network technology used and the expected spectrum refarming. As a result, iGR is able to compare data bandwidth demand to network capacity and show not only when a particular market is likely to experience data capacity issues, but also what can be done to address the issues. For example, the model can show how the deployment of small cells would provide additional mobile data capacity or how shifting users from 3G to 4G LTE devices would impact the market characteristics.

iGR’s models take into account numerous, configurable variables including: the profile of the mobile data user, penetration of smartphones and tablets, the impact of WiFi offload, effect of consumer femtocells and the types of mobile data networks available. iGR has used these models in a variety of projects and research forecasts; they have proven to be highly accurate.

Mobile Network Traffic Modeling is available as part of customized consulting projects and is comprised of three main parts:

  • Bandwidth demand analysis: This model starts with the number of subscribers in a market together with a forecast of subscriber growth. The subscriber base is then profiled according to mobile data usage, smartphone, laptop and tablet use, and mobile behavior. iGR uses data from its extensive primary research databases to prepare the subscriber profiles.
    Subscriber behavior also includes analysis of the impact of WiFi offload (which would reduce data demand on the macro cellular data networks) and femtocell use (which would reduce voice demand on the macro cellular voice networks).
  • Network capacity analysis: This model takes into account the spectrum available to the mobile operator, the estimated number of cell sites and sectors (per operator and per market), the network technology used in a given market (i.e., GSM/GPRS/EDGE, UMTS, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE, EV-DO, WiMAX) together with the expected throughput per network and potential spectrum refarming per operator per market. These variables are used to build an accurate picture of the network capacity available. Assumptions are made for LTE deployment in specific spectrum bands and the network configuration.
    Note that the network capacity (or “supply”) analysis shows the theoretical average maximum capacity in a market or region. It does not account for subscriber behavior or usage (since that is handled by the “demand” side of the forecast). It does show the increase in capacity as the network architecture develops and matures.
  • Summary: This section of the model simply shows the difference in mobile data demand and network capacity, indicating potential problems in the market when the network (as configured in the “supply” section) may become unable to meet demand.

The model can be run multiple times to show the impact of different changes to the network or subscriber base profiles. For example, a baseline can be established for a particular market and the model can then be adapted based on different assumptions and/or variables such as an increase in LTE device penetration or the deployment of small cells in the network. In this way, the model can show the anticipated improvement or impact of changes as compared to the baseline.

Questions iGR can answer

Using its Mobile Network Traffic Model, iGR is able to answer a range of questions for the client, including the following:

  • When is a specific market or region likely to run out of mobile data network capacity?
  • How much additional spectrum is required in a market to meet forecasted mobile data demand?
  • How many 3G users in a market must be moved to LTE to reduce congestion on the 3G network?
  • How much 3G spectrum can be refarmed for LTE without negatively impacting the 3G user experience?
  • What impact will deploying small cells in a market have on network capacity?
  • How many small cells are required in a market to meet mobile data demand?
  • What is the impact of increased consumer femtocell penetration in a market?
  • How much traffic is likely to be offloaded to WiFi in a given market?
  • How many WiFi hotspots are required in a given market to reduce congestion on the 3G (or 4G) networks?
  • What is the likely impact on user experience from more efficient use of data bandwidth in mobile devices?

For more details on iGR’s Mobile Network Traffic Model and how it may be used to benefit your business, please contact iGR directly.