Introduction: According to a recent study by Cisco, the global demand for mobile data will increase by more than eight times between 2015 and 20120. To meet the ever-increasing demand for mobile data, many mobile network operators are increasingly using mobile data offloading to more effectively make use of existing spectrum. Offloading data onto a separate network helps to ease congestion on traditional base stations, and also delivers decent data speed to users at high traffic or hard to reach places.
In this regard, Small Cells are considered to be vital to 3G/4G data offloading, and many mobile network operators see the deployment of Small Cells in managing LTE Advanced spectrum as essential given the higher efficiency levels compared to macrocells. Small Cells are low-powered radio access nodes that operate in licensed and unlicensed spectrum that have a range of 10 meters to 1-2 kilometres. They are "small" compared to a mobile macrocell (that is more commonly deployed at a high power cellular base station), which may have a range of a few tens of kilometres.
The applications of Small Cells are not only limited to urban areas, but also help to address connectivity issues in rural and remote areas. This will help in providing communications for Public safety and Disaster management purposes.
Project Description: The key objective of this project is to drive the adoption of Small Cells for mobile networks in APEC to support existing and new wireless applications and services. It also aims to enhance mutual learning and understanding in Small Cells deployment to enable APEC economies to benefit from such deployment.
This project is in line with the priorities set out in the Strategic Action Plan 2016-2020, as endorsed by TELMIN leaders, which seek to enhance ICT industry ecosystem through promoting business use of new-generation mobile communication. It is also in line with the objective of the APEC TEL LSG to promote investment liberalisation in information technologies and effective policy and regulatory frameworks.
The workshop is broadly structured to cover three areas as described below. It provides a platform for policy makers and regulators to look into facilitating new wireless services and applications, or enabling service providers to utilise Small Cells to supplement and enhance their existing networks.
1) Government initiatives and regulations for usage of Small Cells – To provide business certainty to operators who intend to offer services over Small Cells, in a bid to drive commercial deployments and ease demand for more bandwidth. For consumers, they will stand to benefit from this additional bandwidth.
2) Technology & Product Readiness – To examine current and future technologies. Understand the different technical solutions for Small Cells to provide broadband access to regional areas and the ways to address reliability, secure high-speed communications to under-served and un-served communities.
3) Pilot Trials & Deployment Experiences – To demonstrate rural and urban-use case scenarios. Sharing the outcome of trials making use of Small Cells.
Planned Activities: The key deliverable of this project is to organise a half-day workshop that brings together experts of Small Cells deployment, policy makers and regulators, as well as the business community.
APEC economies will be invited to participate and contribute to this project by sharing relevant case study, including programmes to drive sectoral economic competitiveness with innovative application of Small Cells. Industry representatives will also be invited to share their perspectives.
Timeline: A half-day capacity building and information sharing workshop will be conducted at APEC TEL 55.