Head of network, Vodafone Netherlands: “The introduction of small cells is the next step in serving customers”

Matthias Sauder, head of network, Vodafone is appearing at the LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Ahead of the show we find out more about Vodafone’s upcoming LTE launch in the Netherlands and how the network can best be optimised. 

What are the key techniques for network optimisation in LTE and what effect can it have on the customer experience?

The key optimisation technique in LTE is SON (Self Organizing Networks). SON is a technique which can improve the accessibility, throughput, and retainability, enabling the operators to better manage capacity– in particular coverage and capacity optimisation, load balancing and handover robustness, which are all methods of improving the customer experience. However, additionally automated neighbour relations and self-configuration mechanisms are also helping to improve operational excellence and customer experience. I would also not underestimate the efforts which have to be spent to introduce and optimize CSFB (Circuit Switched Fall-Back). It is an absolute must to provide a basic voice service at great quality.

Are small cells enough to solve the problems of localised demand for data?

The introduction of small cells is the next step in serving our customers where they would like, delivering an unmatched network experience. I see them as a first step in dealing with all the challenges that operators face from the increased use of smartphones. They will help operators cope with capacity demands and the OPEX challenge. The implementation of small cells will speed up the rollout of local capacity/coverage improvements and they also limit the visual impact of a mobile network. I also see LTE-Advanced technologies such as COMP as future solutions for further improving capacity management.

The LTE World Summit, the premier 4G event for the telecoms industry, is taking place on the 24th-26th June 2013, at the Amsterdam RAI, Netherlands. Click here to download a brochure for the event.

What’s your strategy around wifi and is it an effective means to reduce load on the core network?

We will trial wifi deployments linked to our small cell trials in major cities in the Netherlands. It can be used as a measure to improve the customer experience and help to reduce load on the core network.

What do you think will be the most exciting new development in LTE in 2013?

There are several that spring to mind. Generally, the introduction of LTE within the Vodafone network in the Netherlands: and technically, the use of active antennas. We will see more small-cell deployments all over the world and SON will be used to optimise networks and mitigate complexity.

How quickly are you looking to deploy LTE Advanced and what are the challenges you predict it might bring?

Firstly we aim to launch a high quality LTE network and then LTE-Advanced will be one of the next natural steps. We want to get the basics right.

Why is the LTE World Summit such an important event for you to attend?

It is a great event to catch up on the newest trends and developments. The event provides a unique opportunity to meet many different colleagues from all over the world – networking is key. Content wise the event has been excellent so far and I am pretty sure it will prove so again this year.

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