Although TVWS provides ‘free’ spectrum for mobile operators, they will have to invest in building networks to use unlicensed TVWS, says Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider
While TV white space (TVWS) offers mobile operators a free shot at much-needed spectrum for mobile broadband services, the actual cost of building networks to use unlicensed TVWS could be significant, according to the latest report from Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider, a paid research service of Heavy Reading.
TV White Space Spectrum for LTE: It’s Free, but Not Cheap identifies and analyzes the key technology and business issues involved with using TVWS for mobile broadband service, including machine-to-machine (M2M) and LTE self-organizing networks (SONs). The report analyzes preliminary results from Huawei’s lab tests of LTE in TVWS spectrum, and highlights field tests conducted in Cambridge, U.K., as part of the discussion about performance.
“If there’s anything close to a consensus these days, it’s that mobile operators need more spectrum – and fast,” notes Tim Kridel, research analyst with Heavy Reading 4G/LTE Insider and author of the report.
“The spectrum shortage is an opportunity for vendors developing products and services for use in the TV white spaces, which are unused and lightly-used chunks of spectrum between TV channels.”
The fact that TVWS will be available as unlicensed spectrum makes the option especially appealing, Kridel says. He adds:
“The prospects of ‘free’ spectrum opening up to operators are enticing on the surface, but the reality is that operators will have to invest significantly to tap into TVWS.”
Key findings of TV White Space Spectrum for LTE: It’s Free, but Not Cheap include:
- Many vendors see the TVWS market as a stepping-stone toward other, larger opportunities, such as LTE SON.
- Database companies are eyeing a variety of value-added services for differentiation and revenue.
- Rural markets are the initial target, but urban and suburban opportunities abound, including last-mile links for residential fiber.
- Some TVWS systems will use LTE or Wi-Fi air interfaces, improving their market potential.
- Mobile operators could use TVWS channels as part of their LTE aggregation.
- TVWS as a cellular offload option requires an operator mindset change.